Standing room only?

Protesters not anti-patriotic

In August of 2016, Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the first time during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality.

On Sept. 22 of 2017, President Donald Trump denounced any professional athlete that didn’t stand for the anthem, referring to Kaepernick specifically as a “son-of-a-bitch.”

On Sept. 24, various NFL players kneeled, sat, locked arms, or, in the case of the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans, did not show up for the anthem at all.

It’s quite incredulous that a peaceful protest (in recognition of systematic racism in the United States criminal justice system) garnered more attention from Trump than the violent riots (which resulted in one death) perpetrated by actual Nazis in Charlottesville, Va. All Trump said about that was that there were “fine people on both sides,” yet Kaepernick is automatically a SOB for bringing attention to a cause that has stained the facade of America for centuries.

Also, Kaepernick was exercising his right as an American to free speech and the right to protest. He wasn’t burning and stomping on the flag so stop equating the two.

The American flag is a symbol of freedoms, which separate us from other countries in this world. So, by definition, if you don’t agree with Kaepernick’s right to kneel, then you don’t really support the ideals of America.

As a white woman, I have never been racially profiled or assumed automatically guilty of something because of my skin color, but I am able to stand back and see the true injustice that has been pushed upon the African American population of America.

Racism is alive and well in this nation and until we come to terms with our past, we will never be able to move on.

Instead of assuming the person kneeling during the anthem is ungrateful and unpatriotic, why don’t we listen to what that person has to say?

Kaepernick weighed his options when he decided to take the knee. He knew people were going to denigrate him for his choices but he also knew that his cause was, and is, more important than what anyone says about him.

Just think, if Tom Brady were doing the same thing, he would be lauded as a hero.

My father served in the U.S. Army during the first Gulf War. He did so in order to protect the freedoms that make America so unique. Are Kaepernick’s freedoms not as important?

Why can’t he exercise the same right to free speech as Trump does on Twitter? A football players taking a knee during the anthem is about the least amount of discourse someone could do.

Kaepernick took the knee because he knew people would talk about it — that’s the entire point.

Kneeling during the anthem may not be something you agree with, and it doesn’t have to be, but instead of ripping Kaepernick apart, why don’t we look at the issues at hand? Once we realize and listen to what Kaepernick is saying, and do something about it, this issue of kneeling will go away, but until we do, don’t expect players of color to start standing up for something that does not include nor fight for them.

By Olivia Malick, UP staff writer

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