By Nicole Taylor – Copy Editor
NFL player Colin Kaepernick, backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, recently started a trend, and not the kind of trend you see from designers. Kaepernick has been sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and the oppression of minorites in America. Shattering stereotypes and minority issues is my middle name, but when you show disrespect to your country, that is where I have an issue.
The National Anthem is an ode to America – thanking our country and its people for sacrificing, protecting, and caring. Standing for the National Anthem is equal to giving a standing ovation to a phenomenal performance. Has America not done phenomenal things that demand our respect?
Even U.S. Code has a specific guideline for conduct during the playing of the National Anthem. In the code it specifically states “all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart.”
We get it. Ultimately, Kaepernick is trying to send a message, but there are much better ways to do so than disrespecting your country. Maybe start a project that the youth can be involved in or use the millions you make throwing footballs to start a campaign. As a professional athlete and role model to young people, there is a level of expectation when it comes to being professional. People are watching.
Recreational teams, premiere leagues, high school and college athletes stand for the National Anthem. They also watch professional sports and admire professional athletes. Kaepernick, along with other NFL players following this trend, has influenced all levels of sports to make the decision: sit or stand.
Lasell has several athletic teams and at every sporting event the National Anthem is played. Our athletes stand, always. We show respect to our country before competition like we should. At Lasell, athletes who have any problem surrounding minorities or any social issue, can voice it. That is what we do best at Lasell. We are not voiceless nor are we passive aggressive. Instead of a million dollar salary, we have pride and a sound understanding of respect.
American political commentator, Robert Reich said it best. “Real patriotism isn’t cheap. It requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going.” No, America is not perfect, but at least we recognize the various issues that are happening. Kaepernick recognized an issue: oppression. He clearly has strong beliefs and values, yet the only solution he could think of was to sit during the National Anthem?
Not to be facetious, but there is a saying that goes, “stand for what you believe in.”