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Right to protest the national anthem

Kiersten Beecher
Opinions Editor
klb8371@lhup.edu

Colin Kaepernick caused a stir on Sep. 1, 2016, when he chose to protest the national anthem by kneeling rather than standing. When he was asked why 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.” Since then more and more athletes are choosing to kneel for the national anthem and there has been conflict on whether or not it is acceptable to protest our national anthem.

While taking a knee is seen as a sign of disrespect by many, I see it as a way to make his point heard while still being respectful. There are real issues going on in our society and he has the power as a professional athlete to bring attention to these problems. This is something that he has effectively accomplished. He has made me people talk about and think critically about the society we live in and the injustices that many Americans face on a day to day basis.

There are plenty of people who think that he should be punished for his actions. However he is exercising his right as an American to peacefully protest. American was founded on certain freedoms and we cannot just pick and choose when we want to apply these freedoms. Attempting to silence or punish him, or anyone for expressing their opinion is un-American. We are free to disagree with his actions but he should not be punished for exercising his right as an American citizen.

To make it required to stand for that National Anthem would be taking away the very reason we stand. There isn’t anything patriotic about being forced to be patriotic. In fact that isn’t patriotism at all, if it is a requirement that is step towards becoming a totalitarian state.

Sometimes we forget that this country was founded by rebels, those who went against the grain and thought for themselves and fought for what they believed was right. If this is what Colin Kaepernick thinks is right, then maybe we are moving into a new era in society. Maybe one day we will look back and see him as a leader the same way we look back on George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. These players taking a knee during the national anthem is not, anti-cop, it is not anti-whites and it is not unpatriotic or disrespectful. It is the lifeblood of this country’s freedoms and in fact the most American thing they could do.

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