The Right to Kneel

Colin+Kaepernick+kneels+during+the+anthem.+Photo+from+sbnation.com
Colin Kaepernick kneels during the anthem. Photo from sbnation.com

Colin Kaepernick kneels during the anthem. Photo from sbnation.com

Colin Kaepernick kneels during the anthem. Photo from sbnation.com

Jacob Jamison, Guest Reporter

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When a person voices their opinion, it is the job of society to voice their opinion as well. With the issue of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, there has been an uproar of both support and dissent. However, many people voice their opinions prematurely, without the facts. I was one of those people.

When people criticize players like Colin Kaepernik, they do so without being knowledgeable about the players or the purpose of the protest. People use terms like thugs, disconnected, disrespectful and unappreciative. In the case of Kaepernik, he has made several efforts to disprove these, because they are crippling the protest.

The meaning the names are unclear. When people call him thug, they miss the point. The definition of thug is someone who is a violent. While all football players are involved in a game involving violent collisions, none of its participants are actually violent, with the exception of a few. Kaepernik has rebutted several claims that what he is doing is disrespectful. If he has said that what he is doing is not disrespectful, who are we to say otherwise?

When asked if this was meant to be disrespectful to the military, Kaepernick vehemently denied such accusation. Kaepernick has said,“ I have great respect for the men and women who have served this country.” In fact, some veterans even agree with what Kaepernick is saying.

One military veteran wrote a letter in support of Kaepernick, with the signature of thirty five other military veterans.

I wanted to put something out there in the world to say that ‘There are veterans who not only agree with Colin Kaepernick’s right to do that, but also agree with the substance of the action,’” said Smith. “Along with being willing to stand up and say ‘Black Lives Matter’ and this is an important issue that we need to address in our country.”

While this might not sit well with some people, Kaepernick is exercising his right, which these veterans agreed to defend. Because those veterans have defended it well, we are all able to exercise these rights.

To those who say that he is disconnected, they are correct. Most of the people who make those claims are different from Kaepernik, and he might not know the problems of their as well as he knows the struggle of an African-American man. This does not mean that he is not trying to connect to those from a different time.

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