Like the Pledge of Allegiance, “…With liberty and justice for all” was a phrase we heard growing up and never questioned. However, what we do not realize is that, as minorities,
this particular phrase does not apply to us.
After countless killings—such as Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and more—coupled with the unjust decisions, minority communities have been affected. Because of those things, citizens have taken to the streets to protest these decisions and express how they feel. The people protesting are not limited to citizens, though—celebrities and athletes have also taken initiatives to create peaceful protests.
One athlete in particular has been taking over sports headlines since the San Francisco 49er’s home opener in September.
Colin Kaepernick, along with teammate Eric Reid, took a knee during the National Anthem in an act of protest because they don’t believe that this country treats everyone fairly like America claims that it does.
In an interview with NFL Media, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand for a country that oppresses black people and 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.”
There were many repercussions Kaepernick and other athletes could face by taking a knee, such as losing endorsements, coaches limiting their playing time, or even losing their jobs altogether. Despite this, other athletes who agreed with him began taking knees, too, deciding that they could use this as a way to voice their beliefs. Kenny Stills and Arian Foster of the Miami Dolphins are two players that stand with Kaepernick.
In a different sport, National Basketball Association superstar, LeBron James, told ESPN he would not kneel, despite respecting what Kaepernick was doing. “Standing for the National Anthem is something that I will do,” said James to ESPN. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t believe in what Colin Kaepernick is doing.”
James, who has three children, agrees that there is something flawed within the justice system when it comes to people of color.
Although he does not follow the way Kaepernick protests, the influence of Kaepernick’s movement is show throughout all sports, including nonprofessional.
High schoolers have started to take a knee across the country, despite the backlash. Even fans are starting to kneel, too, such as during the 49ers and Buffalo Bills game on October 16 where protestors kneeled with Kaepernick amongst the jeers.
Kaepernick’s protesting was not meant to be disrespectful to the National Anthem or America. His nonviolent approach was an act meant to inspire change in the way the legal system worked. Even though more people are discussing him protesting rather than why he’s doing it,I hope his peaceful protesting will incite change in the way the legal system handed.