The Power of Sports: Kaepernick stands against oppression

By Kristyn Marinelli
Recently, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines as he refused to stand for the National Anthem during a preseason matchup, later commenting that he will not “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Agreeing with his position or not, it is clear that the waves of both support and uproar have led to this preseason boycott at Levi Stadium this past Friday night to become national news.
Colin Kaepernick is a well-respected quarterback; his athletic ability is a marker of his success on the field and he is reviewed highly among coaches, teammates, analysts, and fans. Agree or not with his political statement, it is certain that Kaepernick’s reach proves professional athletes have a platform that extends both on and off the field and they have extreme power to influence (or cause an uproar) social change. Kaepernick’s actions are protected under the First Amendment and his freedom of expression has now been blasted on major news outlets, ranging from CNN and ABC to ESPN and the E! Network. With no agenda in mind, I write to make the point that athletes, both big and small, make an impact on the world around them. As we continue to use sports as an international language to unify both domestically and abroad, I encourage you this: think about what you’re doing and recognize the implications. Someone else out there is watching and cares.