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Collin Kaepernick Changing the Game

The 49ers’ quarterback Collin Kaepernick shocked all red-blooded football-loving Americans back in late August during a preseason game when he sat down and refused to stand during the National Anthem. It was also the start of one of the most controversial forms of protest to take notice. As he continues his protest others are joining in and taking a stand with him.

Why He is Protesting

            His refusal to stand is part of his silent protest against police brutality and the unjust killings of African Americans and other minorities. He is tired of seeing the hatred and the wrongful treatment of African Americans when being pulled over. The situations that are happening can be very easily prevented and he wants others to see that too. During an exclusive interview after the initial game, he told NFL Media, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people”.   His reason is clear and it seems like almost every week there is a new reason why. There’s a new police shooting in another state. Another unarmed black person “supposedly had a gun”. Another cop feared for their life. Another video is shared on social media of the whole situation and still no one is held accountable. The cycle continues and black lives still can’t matter.

Why You Should Care

The awareness and protesting of unjust killings have risen since the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin. People have marched in the streets, screamed to the top of their lungs for justice, and made shirts but truly without prevail. His protest is unlike what any other celebrity has done. He hasn’t just worn a shirt, used twitter fingers to say something, or spoke out in an interview. He is out there protesting in the strongest way. He is risking his career, endorsements, and ultimately his life to do this. He is challenging what freedom of speech is. Those who hate what he is doing is calling him entitled, un-American and disrespectful to veterans, but didn’t our veterans fight for our right to protest? You cannot force patriotism. You can’t force someone to love a country who doesn’t even show the love back. Those who hate him spread his message further, he is fearless and is using his platform to bring further light to an issue that should never be silenced.

How His Protest is Working.

            Since the start of his protest his jersey sales have skyrocketed has been joined by three other NFL players including fellow teammate Eric Reed. Some players know him and others understand why he is fighting. For example, U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe has begun to take a knee at her games as well. In an interview she says, “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all your liberties”. Although her message is different the fight is them which is not feeling like your country has your back. He is reaching broad audiences he has support from artists such as J Cole and Trey Songz to President Barack Obama. He is grabbing attention and forcing people to have the uncomfortable conversation surrounding racial prejudice and police brutality.

His why is becoming clearer and clearer and people are joining in. This must happen for change to happen we can’t just protest in the streets we have to take a stand. In the words of J Cole, “All we want to do is take the chains off. All we want to do is be free”. The only way our chains will come off is when we pull the covers off and shed light on the systematic racism that is still taking place. Showing that not every black man is hostile, carrying a weapon and deserves to die. Realizing it’s okay to be upset and want to fight. We are American and deserve to be treated like it. I stand with Collin Kaepernick.

 

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