After taking some time to reflect on what happened at Fridays preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers I feel as though I am ready to talk about Colin Kaepernick. For those that don’t know Colin comes from my home town and everyone here loves him because he is somewhat of a hometown hero. He made kids from our area believe in themselves and think that they could be just like him. He also helps quite a bit with a non-profit group called Camp Taylor which helps with kids who have heart conditions get out and meet others who either have or had issues with their heart. He is an all-around great guy who uses his celebrity to do a lot for people in need.
Now we have a controversy in which he did not stand for the national anthem and people have lost their minds. A local sandwich shop has taken the menu item with Kaepernick’s name down. People are telling him to go to other countries to learn what being oppressed is really about and some are even burning his jersey. While I understand why people are angry, there is much more to what is going on than people are looking at. Let me preface everything I say with the fact that I never have liked him as a player. I thought he was overrated since day one and while I was happy a local guy made it, I thought he wouldn’t last long as a starter.
America is a great country that people fail to remember allows you to choose what you do and do not do. This statement that Kaepernick made, while I don’t agree with it, is what makes us this great country. He has a firm belief and an understanding that I will never have. While my grandparents are immigrants and my whole family is of Portuguese heritage, I look like your average overweight white guy. Nobody has ever looked twice at me because of my color. I have never been treated like I was a lesser human. So who am I to judge someone who has probably had to deal with some oppression? To the people who say that Kaepernick makes so much money that he has no right to complain, how do you know that anyone he knows hasn’t had issues? Not everyone follows the NFL enough to know who he is so maybe he has felt that oppression.
In the end Mr. Kaepernick did something that felt right to him and nobody would have known any differently if someone didn’t point it out after the fact. He didn’t go out and search for a reporter to tell them about some cause he was fighting for. He protested in a way that he felt would be the best for him and what he believes in. Regardless of his monetary situation he is still a human being that can have his beliefs and as I said before, being able to express these beliefs is why The United States is the greatest country in the world.