By Dominick J Fils-Aimé|August 28th, 2016
San Francisco 49ner quarterback Colin Kaepernick continued his protest against racial injustice Friday, choosing to remain seated during the national anthem, during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.
Asked about the decision, the former 2nd round pick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. 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.”
Many San Francisco 49ers fans responded to the quarterback exercising his first amendment rights in kind, expressing their disdain for Kaepernick’s lack of patriotism and respect for our nation’s banner via social media, sharing videos of themselves burning his number seven jersey.
One video of a heavy set 49ner fan burning the $114 million dollar dual threat ‘ s jersey, in particular, has gone viral. Wearing recently retired Niner linebacker Patrick Willis’s No. 52 jersey, the zealot swiftly lights the No. 7 jersey with ‘Star Spangled Banner’ emitting from the background. The heavy set patriot then steps back, removes his cap and salutes in the direction of the flame, ironically considering how the act almost makes a mockery of the symbolism associated with such a salute. Despite its lack of artistic sensibility the post has accumulated over 5 million Facebook views.
Despite backlash from fans and contemporaries, Kaepernick has continued to be outspoken in regards to racial issues and is openly a proponent of Black Lives Matter, the polarizing civil rights group concerned with police abuse and judicial reform. The quarterback is biracial, as his father is black, although he was raised by a white couple alongside their two children after being put up for adoption.
So is Kaepernick wrong for his protest? Is it ironic to protest a flag that symbolizes the freedom that affords him the right to do so? Or is the quarterback justified in his protest of a country whose anthem proclaimed itself the “land of the free” while african slaves were in captivity, and their descendants are still burdened by the racially discriminatory values that still persist within our society today?