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FEATURE:

Believe in Something--Even if It Means Sacrificing Everything

By: Angela White

  Football--an American favorite to play and watch. Being an American sport, the national anthem is played before every game starts, and everyone stands. This was until Colin Kaepernick did the unthinkable in 2016 taking a knee during the national anthem. Three games before that he just sat on the bench quietly. Being the first to kneel in public, Kaepernick brought talk about his actions to protest police brutality.

  Colin Kaepernick--former 49ers quarterback to Nike ad campaign. Growing up, Kaepernick had a love for football and started playing at age four. Born on November 3,1987 he was adopted by the Kaepernicks, a white family, and grew up bi-racial after his mother had him at 19 and fell in love with the Kaepernick family. He graduated from college with a degree in business and married Nessa in 2015. In 2011 he was drafted for the 49ers and took over as one of the team’s great quarterback even leading his team to the Super Bowl. He threw 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in his career but is still unsigned today due to his actions during the National Athem. His last game was January 1st, 2018 and the 49ers lost. Colin is now with Nike, which caused backlash to them when posted an ad campaign with him in early September.

  Once he took a knee, others began to follow in his footsteps. This started the sparks of being “unpatriotic and “un-American”. President Donald Trump took to twitter to speak out against the actions in the NFL wanting anyone who shows disrespect to be fired on the spot. This all started in 2016 and remains an issue talked about today as to what is right and wrong. Kaepernick still stands with his decision today. He believes in what he's doing even if it's not done in the best way. Those other players who kneeled stood by a cause they believe despite everything thrown at them and never gave up. All to show an injustice they feel is happening. Anything you feel is wrong you must take a chance and fight for your right.

   Being in America means standing up for your country, showing respect for those who fought for you to have your freedom to do as you please. Kaepernick kneeling shows disrespect? It all depending on who you ask. Once after a game where he didn’t stand, Kaepernick said in a press conference, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people”. This brought more outrage towards him. On the other hand, he also won respect from others including former president Barack Obama.

   In the NFL, you are working. That means obeying the rules and representing your company. Anyone who now kneels will be suspended or fined. The Miami Dolphins had four players who kneeled--all who were suspended. The NFL now has a strict policy against kneeling and takes this as a serious issue. Since then other players have spoken out like Demario Davis who said, “I think the greatest act of patriotism is to work to make your country better”. Everyone has different opinions on how they think the country can be made better. Making a change takes time and not everyone will support but if you believe go for it.

  Standing up for what you believe in takes courage and commitment. What he did can be argued from both sides as good and bad. Bringing up an issue is a positive thing but the way it's done during the national anthem is what makes others upset. This can be viewed as disrespect towards the military. Singers like Rihanna and Cardi B are protesting the Super Bowl in support of Kaepernick and others want Maroon 5 to drop out. Eric Reid is in support of Colin with his cleats containing designs that Kaepernick worn in his last game and has also sat out during the Star-Spangle Banner.

  Colin’s idea to kneel was to show how black people in 2016 were being treated. He has said “I know what I have stood up for is right”. He took his chances to stand by a cause he supports and that shows dedication on his part. Everyone has opinions to how actions should happen but not many people follow through. It has been two years since Colin started his protest and still brings remarks.

 Like the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, two African American men Tommie Smith and John Carlos lowered their heads and raised a fist in the black power salute while standing on the podium and right after that they were asked to leave. It just shows how long people have been taking a stand for their rights. When you have a way to influence others, take a chance.

  Dealing with controversial issues, everyone has opinions and will try to change your mind or just act against you. I believe in Colin for him not giving up an issue he feels is unfair in the world. Everything he has done has affected his career and his choice to use his platform as a way to make a change. This is a great example of how you can try to better society the way you think it should be done.

Not all Americans feel that Colin is a good person, but he has made a change and will continue to little by little--still using his fame today to speak out on issues. Close friend Eric Reid has played 11 games and has been drug tested 7 times including after wearing cleats designed with Kaepernick on them. Colin is now questioning as to if the testing is so random--showing how he stands up for his friends

 Today everything is fragile; saying the wrong thing or making the wrong move can cost you big time. Choosing to stand for an issue no matter how you’ll be affected is one of the bravest things you can do in this age. Colin Kaepernick is showing bravery with his actions.