By Alex Padalino
Colin Kaepernick, the current backup quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, remained seated on the bench during the rendition of the National Anthem at the team’s opening preseason game on Aug. 26. Kaepernick’s reasoning stems from the inequality that he believes exists in America.
Following the preseason game, Kaepernick explained his rationale at a postgame press conference.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick.
He went on to inform the media that the platform that football has given him should be used to stand for ideals that he believes in.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” said Kaepernick.
Kaepernick has received both support and criticism for his decision. Regardless of the attention his actions have brought him, he has achieved his goal of sparking a conversation.
Some students believe that Kaepernick’s stance does not relate to his football career.
“I think Kaepernick is doing this to make a political statement,” said senior Julia Cupolo.
Kaepernick started a trend of sitting or kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at professional sporting events among atheletes across the United States. Most recently, Megan Rapione of the Seattle Reign and the U.S. National Team took a knee during the rendition of the National Anthem to show support for Kaepernick.
Following the match, Rapione spoke to the media about her decision, defending her position.
“It was a little nod to Kapernick and everything that he’s standing for right now,” said Rapione. “I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it.”
The story has and continues to be covered by news outlets throughout the country. Some believe that media bias has affected the public’s perspective on the story.
Sophmore, Jerry Boggs, football fan at Sacred Heart, feels that Kapernick’s image has been compromised.
“The story has been skewed. He’s been made out as a villain,” said Boggs.
Regardless of his status as a villain or hero, Kaepernick’s jersey has risen to the number one selling jersey in the NFL. This is a spectacular feat for a player who has been named a backup for the 2016-2017 season.
Kaepernick has decided to give all of the profits he receives on jersey sales to community charities. Kaepernick used Instagram to thank those who purchased his jersey as a sign of support. The post received over 60,000 likes.
“I want to thank everyone who has shown me love and support, it truly means a lot. I wasn’t expecting my jersey sales to jump to number one because of this, but it shows the people’s belief that we can achieve justice and equality for all,” said Kaepernick.
The National Football League has stayed fairly quiet on the issue, with the commissioner, Rodger Goodell releasing a single statement voicing his displeasure to CBS Sports.
“I don’t necessarily agree with what he is doing.” We believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL,” said Goodell.
While the NFL has yet to attempt to stop Kaepernick, some believe punishment would take away his right to practice free speech.
“The NFL has to acknowledge it, but I don’t think he should be brutally punished – just encouraged to make a statement in a different way,” said Cupolo.
The San Francisco 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks, a team that plans to take a stand of their own on Sept. 25.