There has been some serious attention paid to Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He has been peacefully protesting against police brutality in this country. Kaepernick is not standing for the national anthem because of the current racial violence going on between mostly African Americans,minorities, and police enforcement. After people noticed that he was not standing for the national anthem a display of American pride, some have lashed out at Kaepernick saying things like, “He’s unpatriotic, disrespecting the nation's veterans, and unworthy of his athletic or citizenship because as an American he should always take pride in the country that fought for his freedom”. Yet, Kaepernick has expressed, “ I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or country that oppresses black people or people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”.
Kaepernick’s statements are grounded in some serious facts. The last few years we as a nation have watched law enforcement murder unarmed individuals on camera with no justice for the victim. In Oakland at Fruitvale station, a cop murdered a young man execution style on a subway platform. Eric Garner was choked to death on camera pleading with the officer, “I can’t breathe”, and died on the street for selling loose cigarettes. Freddie Gray was beaten to death in police custody, and Sandra Bland was pulled over for a routine traffic stop, arrested, and killed while in police custody. Trust me, the list goes on and on, and even in the last few months two men were killed in similar ways, unarmed, cooperating with police, and deemed a threat, so they were killed. These stories all share a common theme, police were taking the law into their own hands, passing judgement, and sentencing these individuals to death. The officers were fueled by their own racial bias, and were not allowing due process under the law, which is a right of afforded to all Americans. Kapernick is bringing awareness to this injustice and using his platform to do it. As others, wish to pass blame to the victims and pretend these actions do not affect them, Kaepernick does not want us to forget or stand idle as people are murdered in the streets, and police that are committing these murders get medals for valor that are really badges of cowardice and intolerance.
Currently, other athletes are taking Kaepernick’s lead and sitting in solidarity with Kaepernick with the goal of bringing attention to this issue and peacefully protesting for police reform and justice for the victims of excessive police force. I hope that Kaepernick’s actions can help to draw more attention to this issue and show that many Americans agree that police can not abuse their power and claim fear for their safety. When in reality, they are not practicing understanding and acceptance in the communities they patrol. Who do people call when certain police officers abuse their power? Who is meant to police, the police tasked with protecting us? Kaepernick is asking us to think about this, and not stand by as people are victimized by the people we trust to protect us.
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