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OPINION: Freedom of expression is never free

This year has been an exceptionally diverse year, with police shootings, people shooting police, Gabby Douglas not putting her hand over her heart and now Colin Kaepernick sitting down during the National Anthem.

“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 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.”

While Kaepernick is has his right to free speech, he is forgetting that he has it because of the men and women who fight overseas and in our own country.

The National Anthem, in my opinion has nothing to do with what he is talking about. The National Anthem represents our freedom as a country, due to the people who sacrifice their life every single day. Kaepernick disrespected the wrong group of people.

If he wanted to make a statement about police brutality, he should have gone about it in a whole different way.

At the ESPYs, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul took a stand against racism in the United States by speaking out.

“We cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust, and anger that plague so many of us. The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide is definitely not new. But, the urgency for great change is at an all-time high,” Anthony said.

Recently, Wade’s cousin was shot and killed in Chicago, Illinois, and Wade made another statement about it.

James and Wade, along with the rest of the Miami Heat once took a photo with hoodies on, heads down and their hands in their pocket after Trayvon Martin was killed. Later, James wore a shirt that said “I can’t breathe” for when Eric Garner was killed.

That’s how you make a stand. I am not going to say there is not something wrong with what is going on. When an unarmed man gets shot while laying on the ground with his hands up and a police officer says he does not know why he did it, something is clearly wrong.

But, the way to fix it is not to burn a flag or sit down during the National Anthem. The way to fix it is calling out injustice when you see it, by challenging every day people to adjust their views.

When you purposefully sit down during a National Anthem, you are disrespecting the Blue Angels pilot who chose not to eject himself from his plane in order to save an entire apartment complex of civilians in Smyrna, Tennessee in 2016. You are disrespecting every family that had a spouse, parent or even child that did not come home after work in the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. I believe if you were on the inside of the door when a military officer comes to your house to tell you your husband, wife or child will be coming home from war early, but only in a casket then you would think twice before you sat down during the National Anthem.

Colin, next time you make a stand about injustice, make sure you make it towards the correct people and not the people who give you the right to make that stand.

About Glavine Day

Just a girl trying to make it in the sports world.

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