There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to protest something.
Some people will have a ‘silent protest’, some will ‘boycott’, others will have a ‘hunger strike’. Some will rally, with signs and/or chanting.
Few will remember the iconic 1968 Olympics photo of the 2 black athletes who, during their medal ceremony held up their fists in a ‘black power’ salute. They did this to bring attention to the civil rights issues facing America, this was during the time that MLK Jr. was assassinated.
Yes, sometimes it can happen that a protest can come off as disrespectful to others.
Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, didn’t stand during the national anthem. And maybe to some, it came off as being disrespectful. And maybe he was being disrespectful. To those that see the flag as a symbol of what they fought for, a symbol of the freedom & privileges afforded to them. But what of those that lost their brothers and sisters to a system that legitimizes the over-reaches of our criminal justice system? Those that are fed up with hearing daily that another black (wo)man has unnecessarily been murdered by one that is sworn to protect their community?
People are so worked up & upset that this man didn’t stand for a flag. But do these same people feel agitation when a black man is shot egregiously in public?
Think for a moment that every time you pass a police car on the side of the road, you wonder if they are going to follow you. And if they do follow you, and pull you over, will this be the end for you? Will you ever see your family again, or is this how you die? That may sound extreme to some of you. But that LITERALLY goes through the mind of a black man every time they see a cop car in their rearview mirror. IT IS EXTREME.
And maybe that is why it is important for Colin Kaepernick to sit during the national anthem. Because maybe he’s disrespecting a piece of cloth. But he’s showing some respect for those murdered on the streets.
Update: Colin Kaepernick did meet with reporters today, to discuss his actions from Friday:
(on why he chose to sit during national anthem during Week 3 of preseason) “People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now.”
(on his message to members of the military) “I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.”
(on how his teammates have reacted to him) “The support I’ve gotten from my teammates has been great. I think a lot of my teammates come from areas where this might be the situation. Their families might be put in this situation. It’s something that I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘I really respect you for what you’re doing and what you’re standing for.’ So to me that’s something that I know what I’m doing was right, and I know other people see what I’m doing is right, it’s something that we have to come together. We have to unite. We have to unify and make a change.”
(on his comments to the team in a player’s only meeting) “It was a conversation. They asked me to talk and just explain why I did what I did. And why I felt the way I felt. I had an open conversation with them. I told them why I felt that way and looked at things the way I do. A lot of it has to do with the history of the country and where we’re currently at. I opened it up to all my teammates. Come talk to me if you have any questions. If you want to understand what I’m thinking further, come talk to me. It shouldn’t be something that should be hidden. These conversations need to happen and can bring everybody closer.”