The message behind taking a knee

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Courtesy: NFL / MGN Online

Jevon Bausby, The Black Bear – Believing and accepting the message behind the National Anthem is one thing, but not tolerating it is another. That is the case with National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick, seen taking a knee as a protest in hopes for equality in America.

Kaepernick’s view of racial injustices that exist in America are the focal point of his stance in this protest. He battles with the notion of no one being found guilty in the murders involving the police and unarmed black men.

“Ultimately, it’s to bring awareness and make people realize what’s really going on in this country,” Kaepernick said in a post-game interview. “There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust, people aren’t being held accountable for and that’s something that needs to change.”

Kaepernick supporters favor his stance because they see it as a silent protest. Meanwhile, those not supporting Kaepernick argue the flag represents what Americans have fought and died for.

Missouri State University journalism professor Jack Dimond has heard a number of opinions from both sides of the spectrum and feels it is up to Kaepernick to get his message out clearly.

“You would have to ask him as to what it is that he means by doing that. Not that he hasn’t tried to explain it because I feel like he has, until he’s blue in the face,” Dimond said.

Dimond goes on to explain that confusion is created when people don’t take the time to understand why he’s protesting in the first place.

“Many people are interpreting it differently from what he says he’s trying to accomplish,” Dimond said. “I think a lot of people would agree the things he’s protesting against are real problems that need to be dealt with.”

Those not in support of Kaepernick claim the National Anthem is being disrespected with this protest.

“When you essentially choose the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance as your mechanism for protest, some people look at that and interpret it as though he’s against… everything America is for,” Dimond said. “That is the message that is received regardless of whether it was the message that’s communicated.”

Many different players, including teammates of Kaepernick around the NFL, are also joining him in protest of the National Anthem. Recently, players of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln football team received death threats for their participation in the anthem protest.

This act of peaceful protest didn’t resonate with many fans, friends and student body of the University of Nebraska.

The recent killing of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 40-year-old, unarmed African American male shot by a police officer, shined more light on Kaepernick’s stance. 

“They shot and killed a man and walked around like it wasn’t a human being,” Kaepernick said.

An anthem protest will continue, according to Kaepernick, until these situations get handled properly.

Kaepernick has insisted that he will donate a total of $1 million to organizations that fight racial and social oppression. He will donate $100,000 for the next 10 months and also create a website so those can be mindful of which organizations are being helped.

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