Colin Kaepernick: Right or Wrong?

Published: September 9, 2016

By Jim Lichtman
Read More

What Kaepernick did was totally uncalled for and disrespectful, but America gives him the right to do it. I am tired of all of these multi million-dollar athletes and celebrities who do nothing to improve conditions putting down the country that has given them the opportunity to get to where they are.”

“Congratulations to Colin Kaepernick for making a statement and not standing for the national anthem. Rosa Parks sat down on a public bus to protest discrimination, and Gandhi walked across India in protest of discrimination. Why not Kaepernick sitting down in protest of discrimination?”

“A player is not entitled to choose his own uniform or choose his own playing field. Should he not be expected to play [by] the rules of the game when his teammates stand for the national anthem?”

“It is Kaepernick’s right to exercise free speech, and because of that basic right, people can disagree with his actions. This is not disrespecting black people. American verbal society has become crude and obnoxious.”


On Friday, August 26, the San Francisco 49ers took to the field with the Green Bay Packers for what was to be a routine preseason game. It turned out to be anything but routine.

As everyone stood for the national anthem, 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, remained seated… in protest, he later explained.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “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.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” the 28-year-old said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

49ers coach Chip Kelly defended the player’s decision, saying that Kaepernick’s choice not to stand for the national anthem is “his right as a citizen,” adding, “it’s not my right to tell him not to do something.”

In a game between San Francisco and San Diego the following week, Kaepernick continued his protest but took a different stance, opting to bend on one knee “to show more respect for men and women who fight for the country.”

CNN reported (Sept. 2), “It was the Chargers’ 28th Annual Salute to the Military night, and most of the fans on hand booed Kaepernick, who said he would continue to take a knee in future games.”

Kaepernick “was joined by his teammate, safety Eric Reid, who knelt beside the quarterback before the game between the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers.”

“When Kaepernick lined up to begin the game,” CNN said, “the crowd in San Diego booed. They booed before every snap of his 16 plays.”

“In a post-game news conference Thursday, Kaepernick said his motivations had been misconstrued by the media.

“ ‘The media painted this as I’m anti-American. I’m anti-men and women of the military,’ the quarterback said. ‘That’s not the case at all.’

CNN correspondent Sara Sidner reported that “Kaepernick said he knew he would face backlash for his decision not to stand for the national anthem and he was right. But he said he will continue to do so until, as he puts it, America stops oppressing people of color. He says he’s seen it in person when police pulled guns on him and his college roommate when he was in school.”

Some fans, however, have burned Kaepernick’s jersey in protest. Others have taken offense when he didn’t stand during a ceremony honoring men and women in the Military. CNN reported that a Gold Star mom (who lost her son in battle) said, “I see a flag that draped my son’s casket in honor.”

“ ‘I realize men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives, put their selves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country, my freedom to take a seat or take a knee,’ Kaepernick said. ‘I have the most utmost respect for them. And I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.’ ”

“I’m not anti-America,” he added. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better.”

Filmmaker Spike Lee noted, “I find it so interesting how people want to pick and choose what rights people have. Now, any time you talk about anti-gun violence, people run screaming about they don’t want their Second Amendment rights to be infringed upon.

“[Kaepernick is protesting] the same way Muhammad Ali refused to fight for injustice, a war that was crazy.”

After the preseason game between the 49ers and the Chargers, Kaepernick announced that he will donate the first $1 million he earns this season to organizations that help communities.

“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to be able to make the kind of money I do,” Kaepernick said. “And I have to help these people. I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in a position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed.”

Now, it’s your turn to weigh-in. Acquaint yourself with the facts, then send me your comments.

Is Kaepernick right or wrong and why?

I’ll discuss the comments along with an ethical perspective in the near future.


  1. I can’t help but think (and/or feel) that he is suffering from one of the more common human traits; shortsightedness. I feel compelled, out of respect to say that I understand his strife and what he might have been trying to accomplish by making his stand (or sit, kneel etc.) What I struggle to understand is his end goal and retroactively, his general understanding of the world at large.

    This is due almost solely (by comparison) to the difference in resources between him and the iconic figures of social evolution he is being compared to. He absolutely has (had?) the resources as well as the proper outlets to make a difference globally. … I would argue that a truly humble and selfless person(under the current ‘topical umbrella) would continue to generate more social and monetary revenue by remaining in his current position. Defiance is a tricky and ambiguous beast that should be confronted with sound ethics and unwavering selflessness.

    Atrocities happen everyday in America, but I can’t seem to get over the fact that exponentially more monstrous things are happening at the same time, in a different part of the world, on a regular basis. I understand that he was exercising his right to free speech and acted under the rights that the constitution provides for every American citizen. …

    I think he has a good heart and honest intentions, although I do believe he could have made a … greater impact if he executed a more sensible process. You know, something other than silently protesting … then explaining why after the fact.

Leave a Comment

Read More Articles
The Latest... And Sometimes Greatest
Utter Chaos
Columbia University, House of Representatives, and the New York trial of former president Donald Trump: Pick a topic, and you will see what utter chaos...
April 30, 2024
Man of 1000 Faces vs. . . .
Silent movie legend Lon Chaney was known as the “Man of a Thousand Faces.” So convincing was Cheney—who developed and applied his own makeup—he could...
April 26, 2024
Principle Before Party
“Duty is ours. Results are God’s.”—John Quincy Adams In 1806, after a series of attacks by Britain on American ships carrying goods, Massachusetts Senator John...
April 23, 2024
We Need the Strength of Heroes
The Date: September 28, 1955 The Place: Yankee Stadium The Event: Dodgers/Yankees, Game 1 of the 1955 World Series Every baseball fan has seen the...
April 19, 2024
A Time of Troubles, A Time of Opportunities
It’s getting harder and harder to see the light at the end of a dark, relentless tunnel of anger and war at home and abroad....
April 16, 2024
Conscience of the Senate
Continued from Tuesday’s commentary, I offer two Senate leaders from the past. Tuesday, I spoke of the integrity of Republican John Williams. Today, I offer...
April 12, 2024