Leading up to the pre-season match between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, famed Niners QB Colin Kaepernick sought to make a major political statement by not rising for the National Anthem. As the media and Internet erupted over his decision to actively disrespect the nation and its Armed Forces, the 49ers suffered a major loss to Green Bay. Following the game, rather than focusing on the team’s performance, broadcasters and reporters directed their attention entirely to Kaepernick and his move to bring politics into the sports arena – an often frowned-upon decision.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said the quarterback when asked about his refusal to stand when the National Anthem was played. "Ultimately it's to bring awareness and make people realize what's really going on in this country," Kaepernick said days after the incident. "There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust, people aren't being held accountable for, that's something that needs to change. This country stands for liberty, freedom, justice for all. And it's not happening 'for all' right now."
Kaepernick declared that he would continue to protest what he sees as racial disparities within the criminal justice system and the nation’s police forces. "I'll continue to sit. I'll continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed.”
This statement has, understandably, resonated with some and set others aflame. "I listen to him, and he makes all the sense in the world. He's within his rights, and he's telling the truth as he sees it. And I am with him 100 percent,” said NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown in support of Kaepernick’s actions. However, many are upset with the young quarterback for disrespecting the country’s men and women fighting for freedom overseas and on America’s streets. Among those who have criticized Kaepernick’s refusal to stand is none other than Donald Trump.
Speaking with a Seattle-based radio station, the Republican presidential nominee denounced the quarterback’s move as “a terrible thing.”
"I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it’s not gonna happen."
Trump’s commentary on the matter places him in a bit of a predicament, politically speaking. His campaign has been making an attempt at appealing to African American voters in recent weeks, claiming that Hillary’s willingness to further the Democratic policies that have kept minorities locked in a socio-economic standstill with little room for upward mobility are reason enough for minorities to vote Trump this Fall. By declaring express opposition to Kaepernick – and not recognizing any of the quarterback’s qualms as legitimate – Trump effectively shows his real hand on racial issues in the country, which is directly contradictory to his campaign rhetoric.
What do you think about Trump’s reaction to Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem?