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Essential to Democracy: The Right to Protest

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Essential to Democracy: The Right to Protest

Josie Krupens

Josie Krupens

Josie Krupens

Shauna Whitney, Photo Editor

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   It’s been two years since NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick first decided to use his position as a public figure to speak out against the racial inequality that is still prevalent in the US today.

   By not standing for the National Anthem, Kaepernick willingly immersed himself into the fight against police brutality and social injustice. He instantly received push back from people across the nation to which he responded to in an exclusive interview with the NFL Media by saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” ( The adversity he has faced for expressing his beliefs is unwarranted and shows how resistant this country is to the idea of change.

   Kaepernick remains unsigned to a team even after filing for grievances against the NFL, rightfully accusing owners of colluding and purposefully keeping him out of the NFL ( The NFL should not have the ability to keep him off the field because they are worried about the repercussions they will face from those unwilling to accept his message and understand his need for protest.

   The controversy came to the attention of President Trump, who demanded that the NFL fire any players who kneel during the performing of the National Anthem ( After feeling pressure from such a powerful figure in the country, the NFL decided it’d be better for them to keep Kaepernick unsigned to a team and not get  absorbed in the social issues Kaepernick brought up. It is absolutely absurd that our president, a man who is sworn to preserve the personal liberties of the people of this country, is responsible for limiting this individual’s right to a peaceful protest.

   Trump and those who disagree with Kaepernick’s protest argue that the quarterback is disrespecting this country and the people who have served in the military when he refuses to stand during the National Anthem. Kaepernick acknowledged this and amended his protest, kneeling during the anthem rather than taking a seat on the bench. Former Seahawks Player Nate Boyer convinced Kaepernick to make this change by saying, “Soldiers take a knee on a fallen brother’s grave… to show respect” ( Kaepernick’s protest is not intended to cause disrespect to the military and therefore Trump should not be allowed to try and silence him. He respectfully altered his protest to make it more about his cause, even though he shouldn’t need to because he is already entitled to his protest as it was given to him by the US Constitution.

   It was Kaepernick’s decision to opt out of the 49ers’ contract for this season; however, it was still unfair of the NFL to try to silence Kaepernick’s message ( His job should not be threatened simply because he was exercising his first amendment right to a peaceful protest. Kaepernick made a sacrifice when he spoke out about what he believed in and he is now facing the consequences by being forced to sit out during his prime. He is incredibly brave and admirable for making this sacrifice and putting his career in danger. He decided he’d had enough of the hate and adversity aimed towards people of color and he actually did something about it. He should be commended, not dettered.

   Junior Sophia Schingle said, “I believe Colin Kaepernick should be able to peacefully protest during the National Anthem because he and others in the NFL are drawing attention to the issues that they believe have impacted their lives. The players use their platforms in order to reach a bigger audience and to show that they feel needs to be change, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

   Recently, the NFL has received more attention from other public figures who agree with Kaepernick and believe he is deserving of a new contract with an NFL team. Singer Rihanna Fenty has reportedly turned down the NFL’s offer to headline at the upcoming 2019 Super Bowl in support of Kaepernick’s protest ( Having more public figures back up Kaepernick keeps the NFL in check and will hopefully make sure he is rightfully given a new contract to play next season.

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Essential to Democracy: The Right to Protest