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Understanding Colin

On Aug. 26, 2016, the San Francisco 49ers were set to play the Green Bay Packers in a preseason National Football League game.

It later turned out to be the spark of a very powerful campaign. NFLFemale.com’s Jennifer Lee Chan snapped a photo of the 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, sitting on the bench during the national anthem.

On Aug. 27, 2016, Kaepernick gave an explanation for not standing during the national anthem.

“I am not going to stand up for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this 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. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed,” Kaepernick aid. “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know I stood up for what is right.”

On Aug. 28, 2016, Kaepernick made clear his protest is to bring awareness and make people realize what is going on in America past and present.

Reporter for 49ers Bay Area News Group, Cam Inman, captured a series of videos during Kaepernick’s locker room interview.

In the 49ers’ final preseason game Kaepernick decided to kneel rather than sitting on the bench.

Former Seattle Seahawks player and Army Special Forces veteran Nate Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick and the two met up.

Boyer revealed the conversation on an episode of HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.”

“We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates,” Boyer said. “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.”

Gumbel asked if Kaepernick was receptive to his ideas. Boyer replied, “Very receptive. I think that would be…I think that would be really powerful,” Boyer recalls. “And, you know, he asked me to do it with him. And I said, ‘Look, I’ll stand next to you. I gotta stand though. I gotta stand with my hand on my heart. That’s just what I do and where I’m from.’”

Many people are opposed to Kaepernick’s protest and its because their views were tainted.

Our very own president has misguided thousands of people and lead them to believe Kaepernick’s protest was against the flag or the anthem.

Personally, his concept baffles me and its disappointing to see people ignore the true issue and shift the focus in another direction.

President Trump started his rant mentioning how he, Sen. Luther Strange and a crowd in Huntsville, Alabama are all “unified” by “ the same great American values.”

“We’re proud of our country and we respect our flag,” Trump said. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out…he’s fired,” Trump said. “You know, some owners are gonna do that, he’s gonna say, ‘that guy that disrespect our flag…he’s fired,” Trump reiterated. “And that owner they don’t know it…they don’t know…they’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know they’ll be the most popular person for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for.”

As I reflect on the video and the words he chose did not sit well with me.

First of all, our president called someone a son of a b****.

When has that ever been okay to say from someone in his position? Second, he uses the pronouns “we” and “our.”

Who exactly is he referring to when Kaepernick’s protest is geared towards making people realize the oppression black people face everyday.

However, this is nothing new and it has been happening for years.

Not many people have the courage to stand up a say something about it.

Trump and his supporters choose to be ignorant to the issue and make it about the flag and the anthem.

Moreover, many people are aware of the oppression on black people but choose to stay silent or sly away from the situation.

These people are just as bad as the ones who impose the oppression.

On too many cases black men have died in the hands of the police who are suppose to be there to protect.

For example, Alton Sterling, 37, died from gunshot wounds to the chest and back as two white officers wrestled him to the ground.

One officer appears to cuff Sterling with his hands held behind his back. The second officer positioned at Sterling’s shoulders, forceful presence his head to the ground.

The same officer reaches for his gun and points it to Sterling’s chest and fires. Sterling was selling CDs outside of a gas station.

“Another murder in the streets because of color of a man’s skin, at the hands of the people who they say will protect us,” Kaepernick writes. “When will they be held accountable?”

The very next day another black man was shot dead by a police officer.

Philando Castile, 32, was shot seven times during a traffic stop with his girlfriend next to him and his 4-year-old daughter in the back seat.

Footage from officer Jeronimo Yanez’s dashcam shows him firing several times into the car.

After shots had been fired, Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds live streamed the situation from her cell phone.

Reynolds was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car along with their daughter.

Castile had been pulled over because of a broken brake light and was reaching for his license when shots were fired.

Many of you will never understand how it feels to be black in America.

The heart-dropping moment of getting pulled over by the police, it is traumatizing.

The scary feeling of being targeted for no reason.

The pain of racism and oppression that still exist in America simply because the pigment of one’s skin.

This is an everyday battle black people rather you know it or not.

A special thanks to Nike for their “Just Do It” campaign.

The courage to step out on a controversial topic and stand behind Kaepernick’s silent, but powerful protest is one that will be talked about forever.

Dear Colin Kaepernick,

Thank You for your courage and bravery to stand up for what you know is right.

It is truly inspiring to see a black man that is not afraid to share what he believes in.

You risked losing it all to change America forever.

I pray for nothing but blessings over your life and want to encourage you to keep changing the world one knee at a time.

God Bless,

Trey Chrystak

About Trey Chrystak

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