Column: Debating the Colin Kaepernick national anthem controversy

Josh Peick

The NFL season is only a week away. That means fantasy leagues are scrambling to set draft times before the season starts. It means that there is only one more Thursday and one more Sunday without regular season football. But are we even talking about football right now?

No, we’re not.

Instead, we are talking about Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback who sat in protest during the national anthem in Friday night’s loss to the Green Bay Packers Aug. 26.

Kaepernick issued a statement after the game to NFL media.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem has sparked outrage but also support throughout the nation. Each side has compelling arguments, but I have a message for both sides and a possible solution.

For the side upset that Kaepernick is choosing to sit during the national anthem, I have some bad news for you. He can do whatever he wants to do during the national anthem. He can do jumping jacks if he feels like it.

You know why you hear the phrase, “it’s a free country, and I can do what I want,” so often? It’s because it is, and Kaepernick has the right to sit or stand during the national anthem.

The last time I checked, the announcer at sporting events says, “please rise and remove your caps for the singing of our national anthem.” Not, “rise and remove your caps for the singing of our national anthem or there will be consequences.”

So when the announcer comes on before the national anthem, if Kaepernick does not want to stand, he does not have to.

And now for the side that is in support of Kaepernick sitting. What is actually being accomplished by him sitting?

While we are not talking about football a week before the season, are we even talking about the oppression of people of color in this country? I think not.

Instead, everyone is fixated on the action of sitting during the anthem and not the actual stance that Kaepernick is taking. We are busy talking about if he has the right to sit during the anthem and not how to fix the oppression of people of color in this country.

Making people angry by sitting down during the national anthem is not going to solve anything. While I agree with most of Kaepernick’s points that he brings up with the media, I have to question what is being accomplished by his protests. There has to be a better way.

Speak up. You have a voice and people will listen to you. Start a campaign. Start a petition. Do anything. People will follow. If changes are going to be made in this country, it starts with the people who have the opportunity to speak up at a national level and make a difference.