Colin Kaepernick is currently the most famous player in the National Football League, and it has nothing to do with his ability as a player. Kaepernick is the most well-known football player right now because he refused to stand during the national anthem in 2016 in response to how African Americans were being treated by the police. Kaepernick’s actions caused a media storm so big that it is still one of the biggest topics in America over a year and one president later, the reason being the increase in hostility from those who believe Kaepernick is disrespecting America, and the response from those who believe Kaepernick is being persecuted for his beliefs.
When the Kaepernick controversy first started, I did not think or care about it too much. I do think Kaepernick’s cause is important and genuine, but I am not a football watcher so I did not feel that connected to the story. I did casually think Kaepernick was a genius. Whether or not you agree with how he protested, there is no denying Kaepernick was successful in getting his point across. You could not watch the news or get on social media without seeing a debate about whether his cause was valid or was it the appropriate method of protesting, the best part being none of the debaters even realizing this is exactly what he wanted.
If we had just stuck to debates and criticism of Kaepernick’s debate, it would already be old news, but then this controversy went crazy. As the story was starting to calm down, Kaepernick had opted out of his contract with the 49ers, becoming a free agent. After becoming a free agent, no team signed Kaepernick throughout the offseason or training camp. This was considered weird due to Kaepernick’s achievements, and quarterbacks worse than Kaepernick have been signed quicker. Because of this, accusations that the NFL was blackballing arose, and this debate became about the violation of freedom of expression. The irony is that there has not been too much debate on whether or not that was the reason for his firing, with the debate rather being on whether or not the NFL is justified in doing this. Even President Donald Trump chimed saying any “son of a —– should be fired”, and this support for Kaepernick’s blackballing is where the opposition went wrong.
I agree with Kaepernick’s cause and his protest, but I understand some do not, and I respect your right to disagree. And if you want to criticize how he is protesting on your show, publication and social media, go right ahead, but when you support having his career taken away just because of a peaceful protest, that is when you go from descent to fascist. When you are criticizing him on a media platform, you are exercising your constitutional right without supporting infringement on his, but supporting his blacklisting and the blacklisting of any other player that does the same thing is a different story.
In the end, he is not harming or threatening people. He is not endangering the lives of American soldiers. He is not trying to bring America down. He does not hate America, the military or law enforcement. In fact, he went from sitting to kneeling because a military veteran asked him to do it. Ultimately, you are just calling for his blacklisting for no other reason besides you not agreeing with him, something his critics have sometimes validly criticized liberals for.
I love America and stand for the National Anthem, but I understand people have the right not to and will not fight against it. If you are standing up for the National Anthem not because you love America, but because you have to, does it or the flag mean anything? The whole point of America is that you have freedom of expression as long as it does not infringe on other people’s rights. Even if the NFL can legally do that to Kaepernick because they are a private company, it still goes against the values of the Constitution, and those who agree with the league will just increase opposition the more they push it.