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Commentary: Colin Kaepernick Takes a Knee to Protest Police Killings

By Tevin Hayles

Spectrum Staff Writer

One time, when I was in the 7th grade, the morning announcements were playing. During the morning announcements, the time came to stand up and pledge for the national anthem. Not everyone took it seriously, as many of us joked around and didn’t have our hands across our chests. Our teacher proceeded to scold us by explaining the importance of the anthem, due the many great men who have lost their lives fighting for the country called the US of A.

Now, a decade later, there is another disrespectful act during the pledge of allegiance, this time on a much larger scale.

Right before the start of a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit during the national anthem. It was a freedom of expression that posed a compelling controversy over whether his actions were right or wrong.

Why did he decide to sit during the national anthem?

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," said Kaepernick. This is in reference to the recent killings of unarmed African American men at the hands of police officers that have plagued this county for the last few years.

Regardless of whether or not his actions are justifiable, Kaepernick’s protest is a prime example of the power a professional athlete has when he or she uses their platform to make a statement.

Since the protest, more athletes and teams from various sports took turns making their own protests. Kansas City Chiefs' cornerback Marcus Peters raised his fist during the national anthem. The Garfield High School football team and staff all took a knee, when the anthem played.

Colin Kaepernick could have been like most professional athletes and choose to not make such a political statement and continue to collect his paycheck each week. Instead, he remembered that he was a human being first, filled with thoughts, opinions, and feelings, and decided to impose them during one August night. Let’s tip our caps to him… or take a knee.