The Precedent

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Protesting neither right time nor place

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In 2016, 1,091 African American lives were taken by the hands of police officers that assumed the worst and shot them to death. People organized nationwide to protest this issue and lower these shameful statistics.

One football player started a revolution in an attempt to change the brutality that happens every day.

Colin Kaepernick, a former professional football player, used his celebrity to convey his stance against police brutality towards innocent African American people.

Prior to kickoff of a pre-season game in 2016, Kaepernick decided to peacefully protest against this treatment by sitting during the National Anthem.

When being a professional athlete, it is an unspoken rule that you must show respect during the presentation of the Anthem.

Over the course of that season, support – and backlash – came swiftly for the protests. It seemed that his message was overshadowed with what many deem disrespect for the flag.

Although the law protects Kaepernick’s form of protest, the timeliness of when he chose to protest was not ideal. He and his peers protested for justice and peace; however, protesting in such a controversial way seemed to have the opposite effect and created more chaos and division.

Simply put, there are two main groups: those who agree with Kaepernick’s form of protest, and those who disagree with what he did.

What Kaepernick did was not legally wrong; however, this protest could have been done differently and more efficiently to prevent some of the anger today.

Most people can agree that sports have always been a glue that unifies people of all different backgrounds and beliefs.

However, Kaepernick’s choice to kneel during the Anthem segregated the entire country and distracted those in the league and fans of the game from what they were initially focusing on: football.

Since that time, athletes all over the world – including high school athletes – have used their platform to protest during the Anthem, sparking mostly vitriol from the stands and social media.

Society needs to center its focus on making our nation more civil, and part of that is finding a way to protest without offending half of the population. Kneeling, sitting or any other type of protest during a pre-game ceremony that is supposed to unify and ground all Americans is neither the right time nor place to voice a social opinion.

In the end, the way he went about it and could have been avoided if he protested in a different way, like making every press conference about social justice, publicly speaking and organizing protests, or volunteering in community- and police-outreach programs across the nation. In ‘16 he was one of America’s most recognizable athletes, so he should use his celebrity to unify the nation instead of dividing it.

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The student voice of Perry High School
Protesting neither right time nor place