Kaepernick’s Stance Raises Issues about Racism

Before the start of a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, a reporter noticed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting down during the national anthem. After the game, the quarterback told reporters he wasn’t going to stand up during the national anthem to protest police brutality and the oppression of colored people. Since Kaepernick is now the backup quarterback for the team, he won’t affect the team’s NFL odds, but he did spark a lot of controversy because some people feel he is being disrespectful to military members that sacrificed their lives for the freedoms Americans enjoy today.

As expected, the Kaepernick protest has been divisive, especially since other NFL players have joined him in not standing during the national anthem. Some fans have taken to the streets to burn Kaepernick’s jersey, while others, who support his stance have made his jersey the top seller in the NFL.

Another interesting note in the Kaepernick saga is that the people who haven’t served in the military and are likely sitting on their couches when the national anthem is being played are the ones that are calling the quarterback unpatriotic.

Some members of the military took to social media to voice their approval of what the quarterback is trying to accomplish, further illustrating just how divided the country is on the issue.

The whole Kaepernick incident has some wondering how things will play out if someone did what he did before the All-Ireland football final, a fall rugby game, or a soccer qualifier.

The chances of something like what Kaepernick is doing in the United States happening in Ireland are very small because of the ethnic makeup of the country. Unlike the United States, Ireland doesn’t have a large minority population and even fewer of their sports teams, so a social stance like Kaepernick is not something sports fans there have to worry about.

Even if they had a large minority population, the reaction to a player doing something like Kaepernick did, will likely be similar to the reaction in the United States, if not worse.

The one thing sports fans in the United States and Ireland will likely agree on is that the government doesn’t do enough for the innocent.

In Ireland, Trevor O’Neill was killed in front of his family last month. He worked as a drainage inspector in Dublin and was the victim of a gangland feud in the city. Since he was not married to his partner, Suzanne, she has no legal claims to his pension.

While the Dublin City Council was dragging its feet as they reviewed the matter, O’Neill’s colleagues set up the Trevor O’Neill Memorial Fund to support the family he left behind.

Because of the O’Neill situation, if a player takes a knee during the national anthem before a game, a few people will support the move because of how they currently feel about their government.

Switching back to the United States, as previously mentioned, some NFL players knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick. U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who plays professionally for the Seattle Reign, decided to take a knee before a game in what she called a nod to Kaepernick.

During her team’s next game, their opponents, the Washington Spirit, decided to play the national anthem while the players were still in the locker room to avoid Rapinoe being a distraction. Interestingly, the Spirit players issued a statement supporting Rapinoe.

AFI
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