Kneeling for the First Amendment

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Kneeling for the First Amendment

Nathaniel Gomez and Renz Dungo

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick created quite a stir on August 26 as he took a knee while the national anthem played for a televised game. His gesture created a dispute within the NFL, resulting everyone from athletes to politicians choosing sides; to defend Kaepernick or prosecute him.

In Kaepernick’s defense, he performed the gesture in protest towards police brutality directed towards African Americans. Those who support the Black Lives Matter movement are in full support of Colin Kaepernick. This wasn’t the first display of Kaepernick’s defiance. During offseason, Kaepernick sat on the bench as the national anthem played along with the games following.

An athlete who has been openly involved in Kaepernick’s protest is retired Seattle Seahawks running back, Marshawn Lynch.

He has supported Colin Kaepernick by praising him for his courage to stand up to the violence towards African Americans.

Other active athletes have also begun to replicate the kneel alongside the raising of their fist. These include four football players from the Philadelphia Eagles: Malcolm Jenkins, Steven Means, Ron Brooks, and Marcus Smith. All of them are African American.

We support Colin Kaepernick on his protests. The abusive power which a portion of the U.S. police force exerts towards African Americans shouldn’t be tolerated any longer. America was built on the principles of freedom liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Police brutality towards African Americans is hypocritical to these principles. Not only that, Kaepernick has complete freedom of speech and expression to show what he stands for.

However, the way in which Kaepernick chose to protest the Police brutality is questionable. It is very much possible for Kaepernick to have looked for a better way to protest and produce a more positive and effective response from supporters, rather than critics.

His actions in a televised field of sport caused an uproar not only for its involvement with the sports industry but also the political landscape of the U.S.

His display of support towards the movement may even ruin his career as a football player and reputation in the NFL.

While many of his fans have turned their backs on him, many others have chosen to admire him. If Colin Kaepernick had chosen a better route, his gesture would’ve prevented numerous and unnecessary repercussions for such a pressing topic.