Kaepernick’s Protest Misguided, But Not Un-American
by John Jastremski
Aug 30, 2016 | 8440 views | 0 0 comments | 302 302 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s very rare that you’ll read a column from yours truly that dives into matters beyond what you see on the field, the diamond or the court, but I feel I have to do my civic duty in discussing 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the singing of the National Anthem.

The minute I heard that the former star quarterback-turned-backup refused to stand up in Friday night’s 49ers preseason game, you knew a national controversy was brewing.

It doesn’t matter if your name is Aaron Rodgers or John Doe, if you’re an NFL player unwilling to stand for the National Anthem, you’re looking at a front page news story.

Kaepernick is an African American in this country very frustrated with many of the racial tensions that have been front and center in our society, especially in the last few months.

To his credit, he eloquently stated his reasons for sitting down for the National Anthem in a news conference that lasted well over 18 minutes.

I’m fine with an athlete using his platform to discuss something that goes beyond sports. That’s a beautiful thing.

We’re all human beings and these athletes are in a special position to have a platform to bring issues they believe in to the forefront.

Muhammad Ali used his platform to discuss social change and his protest of the Vietnam War in the late 1960’s, and Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the podium in the 1968 Summer Olympics, the sort of political statement that was shocking to the rest of the sports world.

I’m more than fine with athletes expressing their opinions with what is going on in the world.

However, my issue with Colin Kaepernick is that his form of protest simply does not make sense to me.

I could never possibly comprehend what Colin Kaepernick has had to deal with in his life.

Kaepernick is an African American orphan who was adopted by white parents in Wisconsin.

That struggle, the battle with racism that he probably had to deal with over the years, I can’t even try to relate with those sort of struggles.

However, I’m also aware that this beautiful country has given Colin Kaepernick the opportunity to showcase his talents on the football field.

Instead of sitting down for the national anthem, how about Colin Kaepernick gives back to the inner-city community?

How about the idea of Colin Kaepernick developing an after-school program, getting kids involved, and use his hard-earned money to make society a better place.

Or how about Colin Kaepernick uses his high-profile position to bring both police and leaders of the African-American community together to try and figure out a better way to ease tensions in some of these very crime-ridden neighborhoods.

There are so many better ways to protest your frustrations than just sitting for the National Anthem.

For what it’s worth, I understand Kaepernick’s frustration, but I do not agree with his form of protest, but to call it un-American is very misguided.

Protest is one of the most American ideals that we have in our society. It makes us who we are.

If Colin Kaepernick played football in another country, he would be thrown out of the sport or perhaps he’d be thrown in jail.

In our beautiful country, he has the right to Freedom of Speech and Expression.

It’s why the United States of America is the greatest country in the world.

I may not agree with Colin Kaepernick’s decision, but I respect his right to have it.

You can listen to me this Friday, Sunday and Monday on WFAN Sports Radio 660/101.9 FM from 2 to 6 a.m.

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