Imagine going to an NFL game, the national anthem comes on, you look down on the field and your favorite player is kneeling on the ground, hands by his side, and is staring dead ahead at the middle of the field. How would you feel? Most would feel confused, betrayed, hurt, even angry. This is how millions of people felt when the United States started to notice that Colin Kaepernick was sitting and eventually kneeling while the national anthem was playing. Kaepernick was resented by everyone for this until he told the American people his reasoning behind his protest. At first, people assumed that he was anti-American, a police hater, even Muslim. However, this was the exact opposite of what Kaepernick’s intentions were and still are.
Starting on August 14th, 2016, Colin Kaepernick did something in the NFL that no one else had done for as long as he has done it, sitting and kneeling during the national anthem. When the third NFL preseason game came around, it was finally noticed that Kapernick was sitting. It got quite a bit of attention by the media and he was questioned about it. While being questioned about it, it was found out that he also sat for the first two games of the preseason also, it just went under the radar, not noticed by anyone. He did not gain any attention in the first two games because he did not suit up. After game two, he met with the press and said that he wanted to give a voice to people that did not have one because he was sick of the way minorities and people of color are treated in the United States.
Starting on September 1st, 2016, Eric Reid started taking a knee along with teammate Kaepernick in order to take a bigger stance on the issue. This is the first time that a teammate of his or anyone else participated in his stance against the way minorities are treated in the United States. Also on September 1st, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks joined Kaepernick’s efforts by sitting for the national anthem for that game. For weeks after, players from different teams began sitting and or kneeling during the national anthem for the same cause that Kaepernick did. Even today, there are several players from every team seen sitting for the national anthem.
Kaepernick was widely criticized and downright hated for what he did and the stance he was taking for the minorities in America. Many looked at him as anti-American, a hater of our military and of others that serve, a police hater, and a hater of white people. However, Kaepernick came out and said that he isn’t anti-American, he is just using his voice to give a voice to those that don’t have one or ones that aren’t listened to. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better” says Kaepernick. After what Kaepernick was doing went public, after some of the postseason games when he was going into the locker room, a group of about 100 people chanted his name. He heard this, went over to them and signed shirts, hats and jerseys. These people, mainly minorities, supported Kaepernick in what he was doing and wanted to show their support and appreciation to him.
One of the biggest accusations towards Kaepernick was him being accused as being a Muslim. He was accused of being a Muslim for multiple reasons. One, people thought that since he was sitting and kneeling for the national anthem, he was thought to be anti-American. This was of course debunked by Kaepernick himself, saying that he loved America, he just hates the way that minorities are treated by police and people of power. Another reason everyone thought that Kaepernick was Muslim is because he would not stand for the national anthem. Again, Kaepernick was accused as being Muslim, which was quickly debunked by him also. The last reason Kaepernick was accused as being Muslim is because it was found out that his girlfriend is a practicing Muslim. Once the press found this out, they ran with it and made stories about Kaepernick apparently converting to Islam. Because of his apparent conversion to Islam, many thought that his girlfriend also converted him to Islam. Kaepernick came out and said that fear of protest was due to Islamophobia. “I have great respect for the religion, know a lot of people that are Muslim and are phenomenal people, but I think that [rumor] comes along with people’s fear of this protest, as well as Islamophobia in this country” Kaepernick says to the reporters. The whole time that Kaepernick has taken this stance, he has been looked at as a “dumb jock”, as “an idiot” and has a “lack of patriotism.”
Sadly, in most American’s eyes, being Muslim is bad in every way possible. To most Americans, Muslims are bad people that hate the USA, are terrorists and wear weird clothes. All of these claims are false. There are approximately 3.3 million Muslims in the US today. And, if I could take a guess, I would say that 95% of them love America and are not the “bad people that hate the US and are terrorists.” The Muslims that are terrorists are the very radical Muslims that take every word of the Qur’an to heart and live it how their radical minds think it should be lived, which is in violence. Fortunately, there are a small number of people that live and think like this.
In conclusion, many are still in shock, confused, angry and feel betrayed by Kaepernick. He is the first in the National Football League to take this type of protest and stick with it for as long as he has. Kaepernick says that he will continue to protest until he feels that justice has been served to those minorities that have been mistreated. As we know, Kaepernick started his protest in game one of the 2016 NFL preseason, but it was not noticed that he was sitting and kneeling until game three of the preseason. After the news went nationwide that Kaepernick was sitting and kneeling for the national anthem, nearly everyone in the US hated him. Other players of color, and some not, also joined Kaepernick in his protest by sitting and/or kneeling during the national anthem. He was called every bad name in the book. Anti-American, police hater, a bad American, a hater of the military, even Muslim. He was accused of being converted to Islam by his Muslim girlfriend. However, Kaepernick did a press conference and explained that he was none of the things listed, he loves America, respects our troops immensely, but he doesn’t agree with the way that minorities and people of color are treated by police and people of high authority. He wants to give those with no voice help by using his powerful to aid them. And, until Kaepernick feels that minorities and people of color are treated the way they should be treated, then he will continue his protest game after game, year after year until those with no voice can be heard.