Colin Kaepernick Controversy

By Jarrod Cochran and Jonathan Perelman

In the time leading up to the Presidential Election in just a couple weeks, one of the most ongoing political statements is being made in the sports world. San Francisco quarterback, who recently won the starting position, has decided to take a knee during the national anthem. His stand is against the racism in the country and particular the hate that non-white people receive from the police force.

Whether you back him or not, he has created quite the controversy throughout the nation. Here at Ballsy, instead of making ballsy claims about sports, like we had initially planned, we want to take a sporting controversy and, against all media outlets today, be as objective as possible. Sure, if you want to see a single side, you can find that anywhere on any particular site. If you want to see writers bash Kaep, go to Outkick the Coverage, if you want to see writers back Kaep, go to ESPN. Both sides are quite clear on who they back and what they support. We want to try to be as objective as possible in presenting both sides, therefore we won’t distinguish which writer is writing either side. If you have a controversy you want to see spoken about, just put in the comments!

Argument for Kaep:

“Land of the free, home of the brave.” This is a phrase that often times describes America. It doesn’t say, “Land of the free, home of the brave (as long as they believe what you do)” or something of the like. And while sports are not political by any means, playing the national anthem before games has made sports political.Due to sports invading the political realm, Kaepernick felt that he had no choice but to speak out.

“It was something I personally decided. I just can’t stand for what this represents right now,” Kaepernick said after his protest started to become prominent in the sports world.

Initially, and still, many military personnel have been angered by Kaep’s kneeling during the anthem. But many back his fight against police brutality.

Even those who disagree with what he’s said back his ability to say it:

Not only does he have the right to say what he has, but he’s brought attention and awareness to the problems that face our country.

Police brutality has presented a problem. In 2015, 991 people were shot dead by police and already 771 shot dead this year according to the Washington Post Database .

Out of the 1,762 killed by police, 807 were not white. While more whites have been killed by police, there should not be this many people killed by police every year. Training for police should be far more extensive, which is something Kaep brought to light.

“You can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist,” Kaep said.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it takes an average of 19 weeks to become a cop – about six months. While cosmetology school takes most anywhere from eight months to two years.

For a cop to be under as much pressure as they are, they need more training, like Kaep said.

Kaep said he wants to bring awareness to a country where people are being wronged and unjustly treated. He has definitely brought awareness.

Last week, Kaep was named the started for the 49ers against the Buffalo Bills. Before the game in New York, the Bills fans chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A,” insisting Kaep was un-patriotic in his protest.

“I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for justice and liberty for everybody,” Kaep said in response.

If you call America “Land of the free, home of the brave,” you may disagree with his words, but you can’t disagree with the fact that he is free to protest and, in the face of all the backlash, he has been pretty brave.

Argument against Kaep:

In what was supposed to be just another NFL Preseason game, Colin Kaepernick shocked America by refusing to stand and acknowledge the National Anthem, which is such a great tradition that American sports teams do before every game.

It was a very calculated move as we are in the social media age and nothing goes unnoticed for people in the national spotlight. Kaepernick was very prepared for the storm that was ensuing and in his post game interview, all eyes and ears were on him.

In the locker room he stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

He has started what has become a string of incidents in the sports world where athletes are not participating or showing respect for the National Anthem and the American Flag. He has come under intense scrutiny as well as support from all types of people, but even some who support his wanting to help oppressed people, disagree with the way he has protested.

Of course, he has the right to protest in this manner, that’s what makes this country so special, but there are far better ways at expressing his message without disrespecting precious American traditions that so many people take solace in. He has made this an issue of black and white, which only deepens the problems that America has been dealing with. He should instead be protesting the violence that our nation has been accustomed to.

Kaepernick has influenced a lot of people to believe that anytime a black man has been shot by a white police officer, the police officer is in the wrong before anyone actually researches the incident.

White police officers killing unarmed black men represents around 3 percent of fatal police shootings, so it’s hard to believe that this is a serious problem in America. That’s not to say that there have not been cases where unarmed black men were shot and killed by a police officer when they had done nothing in the wrong. It would be ignorant to say that has not happened, and those police officers will hopefully be brought to justice, but to say that white police officers killing unarmed black men has become a serious problem in America would be a misrepresentation of the statistics. There is, however, a violence problem in our country that needs addressing. Many communities around America are dealing with high crime and murder rates which has caused police to be on edge. Cops are either trigger happy because they have come under attack or they now fear to use their weapon in situations where it might be necessary because it may lead to a public uproar.

It is a very complicated situation – and must be very stressful for anyone working in law-enforcement – but to protest something that means so much to people, and to add more chaos to an issue that should be handled delicately, is not helping anyone.

There are far better ways to show his remorse for oppressed people of color and he has every right to do so, but only adding gasoline to the fire, while angering a lot of people by not showing respect for an American tradition, is not the best way to go about it as he is protesting the very thing that gives him the right to protest.


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