The NFL has spoken on the Colin Kaepernick controversy and stated that there is no rule that you have to stand during the national
anthem, so there will be no punishment. Kaepernick, who sat down during the national anthem instead of standing with his teammates, is getting mostly negative comments for his actions. Victor Cruz, a wide receiver for the Giants, states that he should have stood with his teammates and ‘respect the flag’.
The views on Twitter and elsewhere on social media mirror a negative attitude toward Kaepernick’s actions. While being patriotic is not a requirement in the Collective Bargaining Agreement it is still something that most fans want to see from their athletes and from Americans in general. For full disclosure I am a veteran and love to see players running out of the tunnel carrying an American flag and the alternate uniforms representing military appreciation in college is something I love.
I can respect his stance and want to speak out on social injustice and ‘racial oppression’ with regard to the incidents involving law enforcement and African-Americans lately. With the death of Muhammad Ali this year we were reminded that an athlete can make a difference when it comes to social issues. Does Kaepernick plan on speaking out more on these issues or is the sitting for the national anthem the extent of his statement. The quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers would have a prominent place to speak more and try to illicit meaningful change. Some fans just want their athletes to play their game and not speak out but Kaepernick chose to make a statement. Where he goes from here is up to him and will he be a symbol for change and showing courage to step up for what he believes in or is this a one-time instance.
If Kaepernick believes that social change is needed I hope he continues to speak about it and try to be important in a peaceful movement. Only time will tell if this is the start of something ‘bigger than football’ like Kaepernick said or a headline that will go away over time.