Pro: Kaepernick’s protest deserves respect

Elizabeth Harmison, In-Focus Editor

As stated in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, all American citizens have the right of freedom of speech. It is one of the rights that makes our country great. However, for some reason when public figures exercise their freedom of speech, they are criticized.

Most recently, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, drew a lot of media and public attention due to his decision to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem in protest of the discrimination experienced by minorities.

Even though this is a form of peaceful protest protected under the First Amendment, Kaepernick is receiving backlash for his actions. He is being called arrogant and un-American, even though he is just standing up for a cause that he believes in.

Martin Luther King Jr. was not labeled as an un-American when calling out racial prejudice against minorities in America, so why is Kaepernick? Why does the so-called “disrespect” of a material object and accompanying song completely undermine the honorable message that Kaepernick is trying to convey?

Although you may not agree with Kaepernick’s statement that there is still racial prejudice today in this country, there are no grounds to criticize him for his actions. It is a peaceful protest and in no way causes harm to anyone.

As opposed to those who took part in the protests and following violence as seen in Baltimore and Ferguson, Kaepernick is conveying his message peacefully and expressing his own personal beliefs.  

Instead of being criticized, Kaepernick should be regarded as an honorable man for speaking out on an issue that he strongly believes in regardless of the consequences. In this way, I do not see how he is being treacherous and un-American.

The formation of our country can be attributed to men who, like Kaepernick, spoke out on an issue that they believed in and took action. What interests me though, is that when our Founding Fathers dumped tea into the Boston Harbor, committing a criminal act, it was courageous and applauded, but when Kaepernick makes a stand peacefully he is made out to be a villain.  

Elizabeth Harmison is an In-Focus Editor for The Patriot and