Opinion Politics Social Justice Opinion: Colin Kaepernick’s method of protest is un-American By Matt Stephens Posted on August 31, 2016 7 min read 2 0 928 Photo courtesy of Brook Ward via Flickr Some of the buzz you have seen on social media lately can be credited to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Recently, the former NFC champion refused to stand for the United States national anthem during a preseason game with the Green Bay Packers. Various former teammates, right-wing media outlets and people of all backgrounds have bashed Kaepernick for this action (or lack of action). Those individuals are rightfully justified in their outrage. Kaepernick, of course, has a right to not stand for the national anthem, but the reason he should stand is because of that right. “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 Friday. “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.” I will agree that our country does oppress black people and individuals of color. However, it was selfish for Kaepernick to send his message in the manner he did. Sure, you can protest the funeral of a veteran, and it is constitutional, but is it morally correct and respectful? No, it is not. Many black Americans have been oppressed. Black individuals have been harassed by police and have even been shot and killed; however, Kaepernick’s protest is not the way to go about bringing up that dialogue. It honestly is a complete undermining of the voices of such individuals. With his actions getting so much negative publicity, the movement for a more inclusive nation takes a hit on this one. Traditionally, citizens have respect for the flag. The way he sent his message is very disrespectful to many families and American citizens who show patriotism for our flag. Kaepernick will leave a stigma of hate in the minds of a movement. The Black Lives matter movement is creating enough awareness. This attention is not representative of the message the black community needs. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great representation of what our flag symbolizes. He fought for freedom and justice. So to me, Kaepernick not standing is disrespectful to a great example of patriotism. King once said, “I criticize America because I love her. I want her to stand as a moral example of the world.” We all criticize America. We all have a vision for our future, but we ourselves must have morality in honoring our history. We have millions of people who have served and died defending our flag. We have troops fighting to secure our liberties. Without the freedoms our flag represents, Kaepernick would not be able to sit during the playing of our national anthem. As Americans, we are blessed with so much liberty; however, we are not always perfect as a country. It is very hard to get people to back your viewpoint when you disrespect the history that makes our country what it is today. Yes, you can say that an NFL football player refusing to stand up for the flag is making history. But we live in a society where we stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance every day in grade schools and high schools. Kaepernick has even caught fire from his own biological mother, who took to Twitter with a message for her son. @Kaepernick7 There’s ways to make change w/o disrespecting & bringing shame to the very country & family who afforded you so many blessings. — Heidi Russo (@Heidirn1) August 27, 2016 @Kaepernick7 The path less traveled doesn’t need to be one of destruction. #beenthere #besmarter #berespectful — Heidi Russo (@Heidirn1) August 27, 2016 Love people who wallow in their ignorance and sit on social media in their glass houses throwing stones. #geteducated #adoptionisablessing — Heidi Russo (@Heidirn1) August 28, 2016 By sitting during the pledge, Kaepernick is disrespecting the cause he supports. Kaepernick should rise up and honor the freedoms and liberties we have to pursue justice. Justice and freedom are not always a reality. Kaepernick should be happy he has the freedom to speak his mind as a citizen. Standing is not too much to ask. His message is understandable, but his manner of protest is un-American.