Column: Kaepernick invoking change is justifiable

Colin Kaepernick, a name once looked at as one of the great players of the NFL, is now being talked about for a new reason.

On Sunday, Kaepernick vowed that he would no longer stand during the singing of the national anthem and he’s been stirring up controversy ever since.

Kaepernick stated that he wouldn’t stand for the national anthem until he was satisfied with the changes the country has made towards ending racial oppression.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all other forms of social media blew up, some posts with positives views, while others criticized Kaepernick for his choices.

This act of not standing up for “The Star Spangled Banner” while it’s being played is not a new phenomenon. In 1972, Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson stated, “As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

In the 1968 Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood atop a medal podium with raised fists in a Black Panther salute. Americans were outraged at this unapologetic display by the two teammates, but millions across the globe were praising the two for reminding America of it’s forgotten promise.

When asked about the salute years later for an HBO documentary, Smith replied, “We were just human beings who saw a need to bring attention to the inequality in our country. I don’t like the idea of people looking at it as negative. There was nothing but a raised fist in the air and a bowed head, acknowledging the American flag—not symbolizing a hatred for it.”

By supporting Kaepernick, this doesn’t mean that you’re anti-military or that you hate America. Kaepernick is using his constitutional right, a right that everyone is supposed to have.

Many argue that Kaepernick picked the wrong place and time to make his platform, but with the power and influence, it’s one of the most perfect times to do it.

In recent years, police brutality and discrimination against the African American community, amongst others, has been on a rise. It seems like every day there is another police brutality case in the news. According to, in May of last year, there were 385 reported cases of police brutality.

Oppression is a problem that America hasn’t completely solved since the days of slavery and immigration.

Kaepernick’s point isn’t to make the veterans or current soldiers feel badly; his point is to help America deal with the issues that are at hand, and that have been at hand for years.

People riot against the Black Lives Matter protests, complaining that the riots are too violent and that violence won’t do anything to help solve the problem. But when people try to have more peaceful protests, like Kaepernick, they’re discriminated against.

The only way that America will change is by doing what Kaepernick is doing: causing an uproar and stating his opinion.

We see this phrase everywhere: “Be the Change you want to see in the World.”  It has been engrained in us since birth.

How are we supposed to be the change if we don’t stand up and make our voice heard?