League stands against Kaepernick

The NFL had major movements this season, with Twitter now streaming live games and a new $100 million concussion initiative. Despite the success they’ve enjoyed, there’s still one problem they have yet to tackle: kneeling at sports games.

Colin Kaepernick started the movement earlier this year when he chose to kneel during the national anthem at a 49er’s game. Athletes around the world have followed him by kneeling or sitting during the opening ceremony, in an attempt to show support for the Black Lives Matter organization.

Kaepernick isn’t wrong to kneel. He doesn’t hurt anyone, and he hasn’t acted out because of the people who are against him, which is why his actions are gaining support.

Along with the support, Kaepernick has gained, he’s also received death threats. Although it’s been made clear that he may be in danger, the league has yet to step in and defend him.

Although he was a star in the 2013 season after leading his team to the Superbowl, Kaepernick has since been demoted to second string. His time riding the bench during this season was not a matter of his choice to kneel, but rather his skill on the field.

Despite not being a superstar quarterback, or even starting a game this season until Oct. 16, the movement continued to gain support over a trivial action. The choice of Kaepernick doesn’t influence the game itself or even rattle the team, it simply provides a silent protest to a recent American tradition.

Before 2009, NFL teams remained in the locker room while the anthem played. A Congressional Report from 2015 showed that the Department of Defense paid $5.4 million to various NFL teams between 2011 and 2014, in exchange for on-field patriotic ceremonies.

Sitting during a paid patriotic display hardly seems like an Earth-shattering event that should ripple across the NFL, but it has. With backlash from fellow teammates, NFL executives and fans, it’s clear that the national anthem reaches beyond the realm of the gridiron.

The biggest attack regarding this action has been by the fans, who have called for his expulsion from the league, and have compared him to Rae Carruth.

The NFL has made advancements involving the safety of their players and accessibility to their fans but has yet to protect Kaepernick from the people who choose not to stand with him.

With comparisons to murderers and calls for violence against him, the NFL should be looking at ways to protect their quarterback, rather than just speak out against him. The matter extends beyond agreeing with him, as the Santa Clara police threatened not to protect the 49er’s home games earlier this year.

The attempt of the league and even the police to turn their backs on the former star only shows a lack of commitment to the safety of their players and citizens.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @KentaMcAfee on Twitter.