Stand or Kneel
There has been a controversy lately in sports and in politics that people should have to stand for the pledge. One of the biggest stirrups in the past few years has been the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick chose not to stand for the pledge of allegiance in a preseason game during the 2016-17 season. He chose to do so to stand up for oppression and how minorities are treated by police. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed, To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.” the quarterback stated after the protest. Unsurprisingly, he received a lot of hate with people saying he was disrespecting troops and the U.S. Military. He also said this was not the case at all. Colin believes that There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. Also, that police brutality needed to be fixed. His protest came in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after a burst of police-involved shootings, including the death of Philando Castile, a black motorist shot and killed by a Minnesota police officer and Alton Sterling who was fatally shot by two white Baton Rouge police officers.(2018 Global News)
Now let's look at the facts involving police brutality. Around 1200 people were killed last year by police alone, and over 25% of those killed were black when only 12% of the U.S. is black. In the United States if you are black you’re 3x more likely to be killed by police than any other race. Not to mention, 13 of the top 100 police department shoot black men at a higher rate than the U.S. murder rate. Nearly less than ⅓ of black people killed were noted as committing a violent crime and armed.(2017) Quite obviously, there's no reason for police violence, because the city of Buffalo, NY. has a population of 260,000 with about 50% of the population being not white and the violent crime rate being 12 per 100,000 but, they've killed zero black people from 2013-16. In Orlando, FL. there are around 255,000 with 42% of the population being non-white with the violent crime rate at 10 per 100,000 but in the past 5 years police killed 15 black people.
Now some may see why Kaepernick is not standing for the pledge, and some may not. Trump is part of that “some that may not”. Trump said whoever supports the movement and decides not to stand for the pledge is “a son of a bitch” and said the protest had nothing to deal with race. Before Trump made these comments and many more on twitter there were only about 6 players protesting. After the comments over 200 players kneeled, sat, or didn't come to the field for the pledge. Later in the year Kaepernick was no longer part of the 49ers organization and hasn't signed with a team since. His supporters and he himself believes that teams have not offered him a contract because of the protests. One of his first supporters was Eric Reid, a safety for the 49ers. After Colin kneeled the first game Eric said he started to pay attention to police brutality and equality. He then protested the next game with Kaepernick and was asked why, “The posts on social media deeply disturbed me, but one in particular brought me to tears: the killing of Alton Sterling in my hometown Baton Rouge, La,” Reid wrote. “This could have happened to any of my family members who still live in the area. I felt furious, hurt and hopeless.”
The new rule requiring NFL players to “either stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room”, has got a lot of criticism. More than half of Americans are against protests during the national anthem and support the new policy. Many fans chose not to go to games and purchase NFL memorabilia over what they viewed as disrespect for the country. Others view this as a good form of athlete protests, and around 32 percent are against the new policy.
Overall, it is unlikely that the new rule was put in by patriotism from NFL owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. First things first, the NFL needs profits and the protests drop viewership. Less viewers mean less income for the league. Colin Kaepernick has traveled across the country and has spoke to hundreds of thousands about this issue he feels so strongly about. He has donated over a million dollars to various organizations supporting the same things.