Colin Kaepernick wanted to get a message out

Colin Kaepernick wanted to get a message out, and to get that message out, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback decided to sit through the playing of the national anthem during a preseason football game.

No one is denying his right to sit during the national anthem. There isn’t any sort of law that requires people to stand for the anthem.

Standing for the flag is a sign of respect to this country’s liberties and freedom the anthem represents as well as a sign of respect for those who fought for those liberties and freedoms under the American flag.

It’s hard to respect Kaepernick’s message when you can’t respect his actions.

Kaepernick explained his actions to the media: “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.”

Kaepernick was referring to recent incidents involving the shooting of African-Americans by police officers, a subject full of controversy. Some have questioned police methods in such cases, saying police have overstepped their authority in some of these shootings and deserve to be charged.

Others have supported the police in these shootings, pointing to specific circumstances where the victims were either armed or did not follow the commands of police.

Either way, Kaepernick has every right to voice his opinion, and has done so often on social media through his Twitter feed.

I suppose he felt that message to his 884,000 Twitter followers wasn’t reaching enough people, so he decided to sit during the national anthem.

The problem is that his message has gotten lost in his method. Kaepernick is no longer the NFL player expressing concerns about police treatment of African-Americans in this country. He is now the NFL player who has made millions of dollars playing a game in a country that allows individuals the freedom and liberty to pursue whatever career they wish who refuses to show respect for that country, that country’s values and those who fought to keep that country free.

Many Americans have reacted negatively toward Kaepernick’s actions. People have been burning his No. 7 jersey, and many political pundits have been critical of his actions.

Through it all, Kaepernick insists that he will continue his form of protest, and isn’t worried about what others say or do because “I know that I stood up for what is right.”

That may be true, but it doesn’t mean we have to stand for him.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 635-5673 or at ken.buday@havenews.com.