Dear Commons Community,
The National Football League will be kicking off its new season this week but the biggest story is not about which teams have a chance to win the Superbowl but San Francisco 49s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. In recent weeks, Kaepernick has been using his refusal to stand as a means of protesting violence against African Americans at the hands of law enforcement. Yesterday, President Obama defended his right to do so. As reported by several media outlets:
At a press conference held in China, where Obama had been attending the G20 conference, he told reporters, “I gotta confess that I haven’t been thinking about football while I’ve been over here and I haven’t been following this closely. But my understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement.”
The president also acknowledged that while it is no doubt difficult for some to watch, “…I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about…”
He further noted, “I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be a part of our democratic process than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all.”
The President is correct in his comments. It will be interesting to see if other athletes decide to support or copy Kaepernick.