“Stick to playing the game,” the defense says. 

In the past, there was an attitude created by the public that athletes should never step out of their roles as entertainers to stand up for what they believe in. The stereotype of the dumb jock who only focuses on getting big, winning, and having absolutely no idea what is going on in the world around them except for what the coaches tell them in the gym.

Sorry world, athletes have evolved.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit down during the national anthem has been called one of the boldest moves of athlete activism in almost 60 years.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said on Friday. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Athlete’s like Kaepernick have used their statuses as a platform for activism.

In November 2014, five players from the St. Louis Rams took the field in a “Hands up, don’t shoot” stance to protest the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. A few weeks later, NBA players including LeBron James and Kyrie Irving wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts before a game. At the 2016 ESPY Awards the NBA superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul took a stand on the urgent issue of unifying the community due to the multiple deaths that occurred in previous weeks.

Wade spoke on the issue stating, “The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. … Enough is enough. Now, as athletes, it’s on us to challenge each other to do even more than what we already do in our own communities.”

The world seemed to support the NBA four on their forward thinking and their stand on racial issues…because of the deaths that had occurred in the recent weeks.

Now that it has been less then two months since the deaths that sparked the NBA four’s activism, the nation is in a fuss over Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the anthem… for standing for the exact same thing- racial issues and unifying the nation.

Confusing? I would say so.

The fact is Kaepernick did something that grabbed the attention of the nation. So if I am going to be completely honest, I don’t want to hear crap about how he is being disrespectful by refusing to stand for the national anthem when the NFL has a team named the “Redskins.”

 

Callie Murphy, columnist. Website: calliemurphy.com