When Colin Kaepernick first started protesting 13 months ago, it went fairly under the radar. He started with just sitting on the bench beside the Gatorade tanks and ended up bending the knee later, saying it was to show more respect towards military veterans.
One of his earliest responses to why he was protesting during the anthem seems to have gotten lost in all the fury of recent opinions, including that of President Donald Trump.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”
"There's a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism."–Colin Kaepernick https://t.co/wA7irGZxrQ
— LEFT✍? (@LeftSentThis) September 28, 2017
As the new NFL season began, more and more players are sitting out, not taking the field, bending the knee, and linking arms in protest to the police brutality against men of color. This started gaining attention, but not for the reasons the players probably hoped for.
Instead of raising awareness about the reason these athletes are protesting in the first place, it became a fight between being un-American and being able to stand up for what you believe in. President Trump himself called the protestors “sons of b*tches” and for those supporting them to be fired.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Mr Trump said.
Detroit Lions player Akeem Spence and his family have now felt the backlash of these protests when his father was denied a contracting job because of his son’s opinion to raise awareness to inequality and brutality.
Got some awful news from my father a contractor deny giving him a job on doing a house because of my peaceful protest #smh
— Akeem spence (@AkeemSpence) September 28, 2017
Spence was one of eight Lions players who took a knee while linking arms their teammates and owner Martha Ford during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s loss against the Atlanta Falcons.
He told Free Press that his taking a knee was “no disrespect to the American flag.”
“It’s about right and wrong, like I always say,” Spence said. “And what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. It’s no offense to nobody, no disrespect, just like I always tell people, love one another and we’ll be alright.”
The consequences of protesting during America’s National Anthem have started to come to light and teams like the Steelers have already stated that they will be standing at their next game.
It’s unfortunate that public opinion will surely silence these protests, especially with the backing of Trump, although many have started bending the knee in spite of him. Football is football and while that may be true, we cannot forget about why these protests started in the first place, or we’re no better than lemmings running towards a cliff after their leader.