Kaepernick’s actions unnecessary

September 20, 2016 — by Ethan Ko and Neil Rao

We never would have guessed that sitting for 52 seconds would cause such a controversy. Although Americans have the right to free speech and protest, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been taking it too far this season.

Rather than standing at attention as is customary during the national anthem, Kaepernick has decided to remain seated or take a knee as a form of protest against police brutality in the United States and has received heavy criticism for what has been seen as “anti-patriotic” actions.

In an interview, Kaepernick told NFL Media that he would not “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Although Kaepernick’s intentions were positive, his form of protest is ill-conceived.

The national anthem represents the finest ideals of America, highlighting a nation of liberty and freedom for all. For war veterans, the anthem represents hope and loyalty. By protesting during the anthem, Kaepernick is undermining the millions of citizens who put their lives on the line for the country.

As a pro athlete, Kaepernick represents the San Francisco 49ers as well as himself. Kaepernick should have used more discretion, because being a professional athlete comes with responsibility. If Kaepernick had taken a different route — making public speeches or getting the NFL’s help, for example — he could have avoided criticism and led a more powerful and effective protest.

Even perhaps worse, on Aug. 10, Kaepernick was also photographed on Aug. 10 wearing a pair of socks that depicted the police as violent, ravage pigs. This was taken by many officers as extremely offensive, especially by those who serve the country honorably. Although Kaepernick only meant to target those linked to police brutality, his actions unjustly ridiculed every police officer in the nation. Police officers in Santa Clara even threatened to boycott a recent 49ers game.

While Kaepernick thinks sitting or kneeling on one knee is a valid form of protest, there are many other more effective and less controversial methods of protest, such as holding open forums or speaking to the public during different events. Kaepernick could have simply gone to the whole of the NFL and spoke about fighting against police brutality.

Furthermore, Kaepernick’s decision to not stand has created tension within the team, leading to bad cohesion on the field.

“I can see where people would think it’s bad with the national anthem and the military,” 49ers center Daniel Kilgore said in an interview with NBC on Aug. 29. “For me, I’m going to stand there every time. I’m going to think about and honor those who are fighting and those who have fought, my family members, my friends.”

With Kaepernick now firmly the team’s No. 2 quarterback, this latest stunt does little to help his career. His actions only make him a liability for the team and gives 49ers management yet another reason to drop the quarterback besides his poor play in the past two or three years.

It would be sad to see a great football player go down over one action that could have been carried out in a much more effective manner.


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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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