Opinion: Respect the anthem, stand up


photo credit: flickr user Adam Fagen Pictured above is Colin Kaepernick quarter back of the San Francisco 49ers. Audrey Camacho writes, “Kaepernick is taking the wrong steps to gain attention from media about the current problems between police and people of color.”

Audrey Camacho

In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that later turned into America’s national anthem. America’s national anthem rings with patriotism and expresses our identity as a nation. It shouts that we are one and reminds us of the battles we had to overcome as a nation. Our nation’s anthem wraps us in a blanket of independence and tells us that we are created equal with inalienable rights.

However, our ability to believe that we are all created equal is being put to the test as more and more people confront the issue of African-American shootings committed by police. The deaths of many African-Americans is a enormous concern, not only for other people of color, but America as a nation.

In response to multiple shootings of African-Americans by police, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, sat down during our national anthem. Since then, there have been numerous reactions by fans and even those who do not watch football. One citizen was so offended by Kaepernick’s actions, he posted a video of himself burning Kaepernick’s jersey. The video went viral. Other citizens are rallying behind Kaepernick, arguing that he is taking the right steps to spread awareness.

Kaepernick continues to kneel when the national anthem is being played during games, but now he is not alone. Another teammate, Eric Reid, decided to stand behind Kaepernick as he knelt to show that he stood behind his beliefs.

The quarterback’s protests have had an enormous impact on other people, including students. Recently, students from the University of Alabama sat out during the national anthem at the Alabama-Kentucky football game. At Texas State, another group of students participated in a sit-in before a football game between the Bobcats and the University of Houston. Since then, students at a number of schools have protested during the national anthem.

Kaepernick is taking the wrong steps to gain attention from media about the current problems between police and people of color.

I come from a long line of men and women who have served in our Army, Navy, and Air Force. Every day men and women are suiting up, going out armed and ready, saying goodbye to their loved ones without knowing if they will ever see them again. These men and women are called American soldiers. They risk their lives every day for the flag, for our country, and for the people they don’t even know. Soldiers risk their lives for people like you and me who sometimes take our freedom and our rights for granted.

Every day, people hear that their daughter, their son, their friend has died for our flag.

By sitting down during the national anthem, something that people die for, including people in my own family, he’s disrespecting soldiers who are out in the world protecting him.

Kaepernick has a right to stand, kneel, or even sit during the national anthem. That’s one of the many privileges we have as American citizens. However, if you want people to know you disagree with something going on in our country, there are numerous ways to do it other than disrespecting our flag and therefore our nation. Certainly a quarterback for the 49ers has a broad audience to do just that.

There are numerous ways for Kaepernick to voice his opinion other than disrespecting our flag and anthem. He could start a group that recognizes the problems and addresses them in our communities. Kaepernick could use his fame and channel it in a more productive manner instead of in a disrespectful manner.

As Americans, we’ve been through a lot of hard times. We use our national anthem to remind us that we have overcome many uphill battles and will continue to do so. Colin Kaepernick is still respected and valued not only as a famous NFL player but also as an American citizen. However, if he wants to bring awareness to racial issues, using our anthem is not the right way to do so.

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.