San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick has refused to stand for the national anthem for nearly a month now.
By kneeling at the beginning of football games, Kaepernick has evoked minor hysteria from both sides of the field. On the one hand, he's ignited a movement that has gone beyond the football field, inspiring athletes in different sports to follow suit.
But, he's also received much criticism from avid football fans for his alleged lack of patriotism. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Kaepernick claims he has even been receiving death threats for these peaceful protests.
He says his protest is against the racial injustices prevalent in the United States, namely violence perpetrated by police officers against the black community. He wishes to raise awareness for the cause, and has vowed to donate $1 million to local charities.
According to The Guardian's "The Counted," more than 71 people have been killed by police enforcement since the start of Kaepernick's protest on August 26, which is a greater number than the tweet suggested.
At least 17 of those killed since then were black. However, this number isn't necessarily accurate considering many of the shooting deaths listed on "The Counted" are unidentified victims.
Discussing his decision to take a knee during the national anthem, Kaepernick said, "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
The quarterback’s willingness to be an example to young people of color is commendable, even if he’s preaching to the choir about police reform. His protest is visibly raising awareness of racial injustice in the United States, and for that he should be applauded, not condemned.
Banner photo credit: Twitter, @sportingnews