San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick has made headlines recently for not standing up during the singing of the national anthem before two preseason games. Kaepernick said he refuses to stand and celebrate the United States in the wake of controversial killings of unarmed black citizens by police.
Is it right of Kaepernick to do this? Is it disrespectful to the men and women who give their lives while serving this country? LMC athletes and coaches were asked to weigh in on the issue.
“I think what he did— since we are talking about it, he’s been successful. He got a conversation started. I disagree somewhat with the method, but I don’t disagree with the message,” said volleyball coach Lou Panzella.
LMC basketball player Jaamir Wooten echoed Panzella’s stance.
“He’s an NFL player and a lot of kids and people look up to him. I think he should at least get up and show respect for the country. I wouldn’t personally do it,” said Wooten. “You can still stand up and still show respect for your country even if you don’t like how something is being done, there’s other ways you can show or tell people about it.”
While some players and coaches agree that it’s a good message but poorly executed, quarterback Sohail Mohsini and pitcher Spencer Vincent disagree and believe Kaepernick shouldn’t change how he chooses to raise awareness.
“I don’t think he should’ve done it different because he wanted to do it that way. That’s his choice and he’ll face the criticism,” said Vincent.
“I think what he’s doing is good because he’s not doing it out of disrespect to veterans, he’s doing it to bring up the corrupt justice system. All it’s doing is getting people to talk about it which is bringing awareness to more people,” said Mohsini.
Along with questions of whether or not Kaepernick should be sitting during the national anthem, the issue of whether or not he and other celebrities should use their fame to raise awareness to these issues has arose.
“Using his status is a good thing because he has the opportunity to do that. The message is good, but I think the flag represents a lot more than our government,” said athletic trainer Brian Powelson. Vincent shared a similar opinion, stating, “I think celebrities are obligated to use their status and the points they choose make them who they are.”
Kaepernick has said that he will continue to kneel during the singing of the national anthem.
Cathie Lawrence contributed to this report.