In a culture that borderline worships professional sports, football seems to be the most popular and most watched.
The National Football League is the most popular organization in the world of sports, according to the latest Harris Poll where 35 percent of fans favored the sport.
The NFL is often associated with patriotism and a strong following of American loyals, almost to the point of exhaustion, but it is nearly a given in our country when it comes to sports. Before al- most every game, no matter the sport, someone generally sings the national anthem to allow fans to unite in patriotism and nationalism within the stadium, arena or ball- park. Thats our culture. It’s just what we do as Americans to honor our country.
On top of the national an- them, you’ll also have an occasional oversized flag in the
middle of the venue or even a military jet fly over. Whatever you may witness at sport- ing events, there is always an underlying purpose for per- forming these patriotic acts. That reason is to celebrate America and what has developed and unified before any of us were alive.
In recent times, we are familiarized with the idea of paid patriotism, where the military pays teams and organizations in exchange for recognizing their service. At the same time, the teams are ingraining the idea of nationalism and unity as a nation within the minds of viewers and sports fans.
Although this might be the case, we still wouldn’t have the NFL on Sundays if it weren’t for the military and the freedom they gave us all in the first place. If the military wants to pay an organization like the NFL to continue recognizing them at games and events, that shouldn’t be an issue.
But there is an issue.
When a professional athlete, who many kids and young athletes look up to, re- fuses to stand and respect the country during the national anthem, that creates a huge controversy.
On Aug. 26, 2016, San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand during the national anthem at a preseason home game at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco because of wrong- doings against African Americans and other minorities in the United States.
“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 in an inter- view with NFL Media after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
He might be right by saying that the situations surround- ing the African American
community and the situations taking place in the U.S. currently are bigger than football, but how can you possibly not show respect for your country in which you wouldn’t be able to play football in if it weren’t for the men who hoisted that American flag for your freedom years ago?
You are certainly not bigger than, or above this country by any means Mr. Kaepernick.
The San Francisco 49ers released a statement follow- ing the backlash they received about Kaepernick:
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens,” the team said. “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
Sporting events and the national anthem have gone hand-in-hand for decades and that is never going to change. Even though Kaepernick ultimately has his own personal choice of standing or not, he still is setting an example, and a bad one at that.
He represents his family, the whole 49ers organization along with the entire NFL, and he is making himself look like he just does not care at all.
“It’s his right as a citizen and it’s not my right to tell him not to do something,” said 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly.
Although he has these specified rights, he should still show an amount of respect to his country, even though he may not be happy with what is going on within it today.
By taking a stand against the entire country and the national anthem—which brings our culture as American citizens together—you are essentially saying that our troops and country mean nothing to you. You should be proud
of this country and what it stands for, especially as a professional athlete.
The NFL said that its players are encouraged but not required to stand during the national anthem.
Now that Kaepernick put his true feelings on display, he will now receive backlash for the rest of his life. He will be remembered for this negative display by his fans as long as he continues to play and be a part of the game of football.
The national anthem is about all of us, not just Colin Kaepernick. He needs to realize that this country has more important things to worry about than his personal thoughts.
Colin Kaepernick needs to show some respect for our country and his fellow Americans; many who have served our country so we can all enjoy the freedoms we have, including all sports and the NFL.