Students around campus are infuriated by the man who is protesting the symbol of our country on live television. Colin Kaepernick has been protesting to raise awareness about racial inequality since the beginning of the 2016-2017 NFL season, but if you ask Castleton students, it’s about time to find a different outlet for protesting.
Kaepernick started by sitting on the bench during the Star Spangled Banner but moved to kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial injustices in America, especially when it comes to police. There have been over 400 shootings that killed black people and over 440 killings of minorities since 2015 in the United States by police, according to a study done by the Washington Post.
Kaepernick is protesting the national anthem because he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag in a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said in an exclusive interview with NFL Media. Others have also joined Kaepernick in protesting the national anthem, but nobody is catching as much heat as Kaepernick.
Some Castleton students don’t agree with what Kaepernick is doing.
“I think that they shouldn’t be allowed to play if they kneel during the national anthem,” said Castleton University freshman Taylor Platts. “I get it, but don’t come into a game and disrespect our country.”
“It’s rude and disrespectful to the people that have served our country,” freshman Sabrena Cusson added.
But many students are torn on this issue. Most said that they understand why Kaepernick and company are doing what they are doing but they do not agree with how they are doing it.
“I just think that there are better ways to support justice for African-Americans than by kneeling during the national anthem, like, actually getting into communities and educating the community members about what’s going on and what can be done to avoid it,” said senior Jesse Bekefi, starting offensive lineman for Castleton’s football team.
But junior football player Justin Nolan had a different response, one that deals with what veterans and those in the service may think of Kaepernick.
“He’s (Kaepernick) choosing to not stand while others cannot stand because they lost limbs fighting for him to be able to play,” he said.
Nolan also added he doesn’t think that Kaepernick is really doing it for the reason that he claims he is.
“I think that it’s to get attention. Kaepernick wasn’t relevant at all until this,” he said
Other NFL players have been “protesting” the national anthem as well, but are doing it by standing and holding up a fist. Students interviewed said that’s better than taking a knee, but it’s still disrespectful.
“I still think it’s inappropriate that you can’t just stand respectfully,” Bekefi said.
Oddly enough, Kaepernick’s jersey sales have skyrocketed since he began protesting.