The Kaepernick issue

Colin+Kaepernick+takes+a+knee+during+an+NFL+preseason+game.

Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during an NFL preseason game.

Matt Belinson, Reporter

     It seems that every week, the world becomes captivated and sometimes even enraged by something an individual or group said or did. Issues in a twenty first century world can start from virtually anything. The most recent and evident subjects that have reached the surface range from political candidates’ quotes and rhetoric, racial divisiveness and terrorism in America.

     When these issues arise, many people are tired of hearing politicians talking about what needs to happen, and then they return to their positions in government and don’t act. Their own agendas cloud their ability to make change. Party divisions on both sides prevent any action. The conversation involving the youth involved in these issues doesn’t occur. They don’t want to hear an older politician tell them how they feel. Athletes are the biggest role models for children and they don’t have to fear how a news outlet or political party will perceive their actions.

      Athletes should always have a public voice. The youth of this nation saw the bold and proud stand that Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul made at the ESPYs. The athletes wore all black suits and gave passionate speeches toward the issue of racial stereotypes young minorties and white Americans face. The youth of Chicago were moved enough to act on these players’ stance and held a charity bike ride the next day in a crime ridden suburb of Chicago. Athletes in all sports have a responsibility to let the world know how they feel on an issue because people unfortunately respect their voice more than a politician. Speaking on the issue is the first part of an athlete’s obligation.  

    Colin Kaepernick decided to make a statement about the racial tension and violence that is polluting this country. On 9/26 , he gained national media attention for sitting during the national anthem. This was not the first time Kaepernick has done this. He didn’t gain any attention on 9/14 and the 9/20 for sitting during those games, he wasn’t in uniform and didn’t play. He explained that he was speaking out against the recent officer-involved-shootings of black men in Louisiana, Missouri and New York City. He wanted change in the way justice is handled for officers and how the criminal justice system needs to be aware of how to treat minorities. Kaepernick wants change in the justice system, but this is one step.

     Kaepernick realies that things must change in order for people to feel and be safe around officers or people in authority. We have yet to see any change from Kaepernick’s part. His statement hasn’t caused the system to change. If an athlete such as Kaepernick wants change, you must do something about it.

     Muhammed Ali was a model to strive toward. Ali risked his career to stand up for what he believed in. He went to many countries and attended meetings with political figures to get change in the community. He is remembered for doing things that impacted the world. He stood up for his beliefs and faced pressure from his own government. Ali was against the vietnam war and faced suspension and didn’t care about the political correctness of the time period.  Action on athletes’ part is far easier than a politician. Politicians must go through committees, votes, hearings and debates to get any legislation passed. Professional athletes can become a symbol to identify with in a movement. If Kris Bryant, Lebron James or Derrick Rose stood up and acted to change the system, we would praise them. Almost everyone can yell a chant or calmly protest a part of society, but it cannot stop there.

     No one should be against anyone’s right to protest or speak out against a piece of the world that has been problematic That part is important to get a conversation started but as an athlete, action can be brought quicker and more civilized. The youth that experience this turmoil on a daily basis can see the people they look up to care about them and the reception won’t be as negative. Athletes can and should get involved in the world’s good and bad side, no matter the class, race or sport.