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Protest hinders former quarterback’s chances

Tyler Brown

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The United States of America, the home of the brave and the land of the free, at least that is what we tell ourselves. However, it appears if you want to be brave or free you cannot play in the National Football League (NFL). It was a summer full of empty opportunities for former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

A player who has received more attention for taking a knee than leading his team to the Super Bowl in 2012. Many NFL teams have refused to sign Kaepernick because they feel his pregame ritual would deter viewers, a statistic professional sports teams evaluate in extensive detail. But this is not about revenue, because if your team is winning nobody cares.

It is only when the team finishes 2-14 do people start to blame off the field distractions. This is about freedom of speech. Have you had one of your friends go on a “world is too politically correct” rant lately? Typically I tend to agree. Chances are, they are the same people claiming Kaepernick should not disrespect his country by kneeling during the anthem.

People claim he is disgracing those who fight to protect our country. I would say it is patriotic because our country was founded on the principle of people wanting to be heard. The founders didn’t want to believe in the same religion, political structure and laws of the British. Our country was founded upon protest.

Originally, I found myself pitted in the middle ground of this argument. In part, because I believe those who sacrifice their safety for ours deserve respect. But then I came to a revelation. If those in the south, and even those not
living in the south are allowed to fly confederate flags out the back of their truck or in front of their house, why should Kaepernick have to stand for the national anthem? It is the same argument.

The confederate flag to many is a symbol of black oppression and racism, but I guarantee if you asked someone to take it down they would feel you are violating their freedom of speech. Now, think about this. James Eagan Holmes, known for believing he was the joker and opening fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killed 12 people and injured 70.

He was detained and kept alive. Jared Loughner, known for the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords and killing 6 people at a local Safeway in Tucson, Arizona. Once again, Loughner was detained and kept alive. Now think about Philando Castile.

Castile was a man who was shot by a police officer while reaching for his wallet. In the officer’s defense, Castile had already admitted he had a fire-arm in the car, but you see the difference. When the police will shoot a man for reaching for a wallet but won’t kill a man for opening fire in a movie theatre, it reveals a double standard in the criminal justice system.

We constantly beg our athletes to be role models and now finally one stands up for what he believes in and is scrutinized by the public. The right to free speech is as patriotic as any aspect of our country. Freedom to gather is written in the first amendment for a reason.

People taking offense to this notion only proves how sensitive we have become to speech, an idea most conservatives would agree with. Why do we get so offended when someone questions the authority of our legislature? American history is rooted in protest.

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Protest hinders former quarterback’s chances