by Isaiah Joseph
Spreading like wildfire, taking a knee during the national anthem has impacted the sports realm significantly. It has invigorated much stir within the athletic realm that is beginning to spread beyond the confines of the sporting arena.
It was Colin Kaepernick’s third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers that the world began to take notice of his protest when he actually sat during the national anthem, initiating this influx of both support and controversy.
A firm divide between outrage and praise was and still is America’s recourse to him utilizing his natural born rights to tackle some glaring issues that fail to coincide with what is right and what defines us as a country.
Imagine preparing to kneel into the ground knowing that the instant your knee makes contact with grass, things will never be the same.
As your knee inches closer to the blades of grass the more you realize the weight of your commitment which exponentially grows in force as you continue to descend.
A motion that technically takes a couple of seconds now feels like an eternity. Then suddenly, you’re there. No turning back. Brick upon brick being compiled onto your shoulders with each exasperated eye, each derogatory remark.
A type of adversity pushing you further and further into the turf as the words of the national anthem ring into your ears and that’s it, only your ears and not into your heart as you continue to ponder the glaring issues recurrent in our nation.
Imagine actually feeling the force of gravity, like never before, pushing relentlessly onto your shoulders, as you stick out like a sore thumb, feeling like almost a whole nation is standing against you.
Imagine this force being so heavy and burdensome as you realize that the decision that you are making, the stance that you are taking will undoubtedly eradicate the norm as things will never be the same for you again. This force being so weighty that you to have no other option but to fully commit to your stance and position.
This takes courage and heart. For Colin Kaepernick, it took sacrifice in pursuit of the greater good. Through this adversity Kaepernick stood firm in his fight. Not many have the courage to do what he did. It is psychologically proven that society strongly desires to fit in and not go against the social norm.
Social influence is incredibly strong in today’s society as it is normal for humans to want to conform to society’s standards. For someone to defy the norm in this way tells a lot about him as a person, but more importantly conveys a lot about the severity of the issues he’s protesting against.
The situation of minority oppression has become so bad, so amiss that when Colin Kaepernick initially pondered this controversial protest, he pushed on despite all of adversity, animosity, and contention he knew he would get.
Instead of focusing on the literal aspect of him kneeling during the national anthem, it’s important to understand the reason behind his actions, moreover the motivation behind such a controversial protest.
It is sort of like these issues of minority oppression and unfair treatment of our nation’s veterans were the bricks that forced Kaepernick to ground. Unjustified killing upon killing weighed on his shoulders so heavily to the point where he could no longer stand as if these unconcealed problems did not exist.
In the recent cover story published by Time magazine, Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles who also joined Kaepernick in protest, stated, “We’re not doing this made-up thing to get attention.”
Jenkins went on to say, “Real lives are being lost. Real communities are being affected. The negativity comes from people’s unwillingness to digest the hard truth.”
Whether Kaepernick chooses to kneel, sit or raise his fist in the air, that doesn’t take away from the severity of oppression and neglect in this country.
These are the forces pushing Kaepernick and other protesters down to one knee because these issues of oppression and neglect are the very things that go against the foundation in which this country was built on.