Since the return of the NFL season, I've been hearing multiple complaints regarding the National Football League's treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Many say that the NFL should be boycotted because of its "unfair" treatment towards the ex-San Francisco 49ers player. And from the most recent comments from our President, "kneeling is not acceptable"; those who do should be fired or suspended. I think there are many points to be made from these opposing sides.
First and foremost, Colin Kaepernick and all his supporters has every right written in the Constitution defending their free choice to kneel during the National Anthem. Many who disagree with this notion simply are ignorant because his actions disagree with their political stance, or may disagree because they have a profound patriotism that cannot comprehend someone showing any sign of disrespect to their country, especially during the National Anthem. I not only respect all these opinions and perspectives but understand the rationale to which many view this controversy. It is quite a difficult one to understand, especially if you yourself know or have known someone who gave their life for this country.
Second, it is often neglected that while Colin Kaepernick has individual rights, so does the National Football League have individual rights, as a private organization, as to who is and is not included in their business. Surely, no one deserves a job, let alone a multi-million dollar contract playing professional football. My point being, NFL teams are freely able to hire/remove players they seem fit to their team. Then the question becomes, "Is that really fair?" Should the NFL fire those who disagree with them politically?" From the recent tweets of the President, the NFL should fire anyone who "disrespects our country", but should the President mandate what rights and regulations a private association has when dealing with its employees? Cause while the NFL and its teams have every right to fire a player for causing a "political riff-raff" that contradicts the neutral position of the team, the President mandating what behavior should be tolerated seems to take away those basic liberties.
Third, even though I disagree with nearly everything Kaepernick advocates, I respect his decision to put his knee down, both literally and figuratively, as to what he believes in. I admire the loads of criticism and prejudice Kaepernick has encountered and the true "badass" nature of this motion. On the other hand, I do not even begin to admire the athletes who "stand with" Kaepernick, or the athletes who do not have the guts to do what Kaepernick did. These athletes, including but not limited to Lebron James, Marshawn Lynch, etc., simply say they agree because they want to affiliate themselves with Kaepernick's political agenda, yet they fear the consequences such as losing their contracts with their teams. However, Kaepernick's actions proved to be a "martyr for the cause" as each week, more and more athletes refrain to take the field during the National Anthem.
And finally , stop unnecessarily politicizing everything. Is the football stadium the perfect place to advance your political agenda? Know your audience. If your audience is testosterone-induced men who pay cable-vision hundreds of dollars to watch grown men fight over a rubber ball, we don't care what your political opinions are. This is the main reason why ESPN's ratings and views have declined so rapidly the past couple of years: we want to watch sports and highlights, NOT what the players or commentators think outside of the sports world, especially as unfavorable a topic as American politics. Not everything has to be a political statement. Keep your protests off the field, and play the game you learned and loved without a political bias.