Sitting down to stand up

I’m not mad at Colin Kaepernick.

On Aug. 26 before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, The quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers decided to sit down during the national anthem. Kaepernick gave his reasoning, saying that he did not want to “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”

It seemed like it was a bad time for him to draw negative attention to himself in the midst of a battle with Blaine Gabbert for the starting quarterback spot. I thought that there were other things that he could have done to protest the unnecessary killing of people by the police, such as donating money or setting up peaceful protests in certain communities. However, the response that Kaepernick received from the public and even the league has completely changed my mind.

Kaepernick has made very few friends because of his decision. The day after learning about what he had done, many current and former players from other teams spoke out against him. Analysts on television have spent a great deal of time talking about his actions, and fans spammed him on social networks. Even the Santa Clara Police Department made threats, stating that they wouldn’t be covering the 49ers home games.

People have told him to leave America and move somewhere else if he didn’t want to stand for the anthem. His critics have repeatedly said that he has millions of dollars and that he is not oppressed. People have even said that he is half white, and that white people adopted him so he should be thankful for that.

The claims against him make it clear that the people who judge him for sitting during the anthem have missed the point of why he has chosen to sit.

Kaepernick is trying to shed light on the fact that many unarmed people of color have and still are being killed by police. He believes that the cops are not being held accountable for their actions even when they were in the wrong.

For those that think that Kaepernick could have done other things to protest, he has also pledged to give the first $1 million that he makes this season to charities that are working to help his cause. His activism and choice to speak out shows Kaepernick truly believes in what he is sitting down for, and it doesn’t seem that he will stop believing in it anytime soon.

As a black man in today’s society, I believe that Kaepernick is very brave and I support the movement he is representing. I may not agree with him refusing to stand for the national anthem, but I see now that you have to do something drastic for the public to notice you.

Patrick Pace can be reached at [email protected], or on Twitter @PatPaceSports.