Letter from a reader:
Cheers to Colin Kaepernick—For Not Standing for National Anthem
August 27, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
At the preseason NFL (National Football League) game on Friday night, August 26, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers refused to stand for the national anthem in their game against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick, who quarterbacked the 49ers in the 2013 Super Bowl, has been outspoken about police murders. About not standing for the national anthem, he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. 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. This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
Kaepernick also did not stand for the national anthem in the previous two pre-season games but it was not noticed because he was in street clothes. This was the first game that he did it while suited up for the game.
After the police murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Kaepernick put out an Instagram post: “This is what lynchings look like in 2016! Another murder in the streets because the color of a man’s skin, at the hands of the people who they say will protect us. When will they be held accountable? or did he fear for his life as he executed this man?”
On his Twitter page, Kaepernick has been posting retweets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and about police murders, racism, and white supremacy in the U.S.
The San Francisco 49ers sent out an official statement about what Kaepernick did, stating their view of what the purpose of the pre-game flag ceremony is about and saying that Kaepernick has “the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration.” The 49ers should stick to this statement about recognizing Kaepernick’s right to not stand for the U.S. anthem—and be held accountable if they don’t.
This is a big deal—an active NFL player has taken a courageous stand against the oppression of Black people. Kaepernick is already meeting a firestorm of anger and hatred for what he did. He should not sit alone. All people with any sense of humanity need to sit with him.
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