Kaepernick’s Protest Highlights Our Cultural Divide

Over the weekend, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was the main topic discussed on the Sunday morning edition of SportsCenter. Most sports topics usually last a day, maybe two at the most before something new hits the wire and becomes the new hot take. Needless to say I assumed that this would fall under that category; I couldn’t have been more wrong.      

Kaepernick’s protest has started a fire storm throughout the country that I didn’t think was possible. People from both sides of the aisle have weighed in and it hasn’t been pretty. If there were people who believed that the race relations in this country were starting to turn around for the better, this movement by Kaepernick certainly exposed the unfortunate truth; that they may be more divided than ever.  

We’re doing such a disservice to ourselves and others by acting in the manner we have over this past week. Regardless of everyone’s political ideology, whatever happened to having a respectful discourse with another person? Unfortunately, one of the huge negatives to social media is that it has created this “bulletproof” arena where ignorant jackasses type away and spew some of the most disturbing and vile thoughts imaginable. This topic has become so polarizing that there is no middle ground; it’s either you’re completely behind Kaepernick or you’re not.   

As a society we need to make up our minds regarding whether or not we want athletes to speak out on social issues. One minute we’re upset because they’re not saying enough and then a minute later we’re roasting them for taking a stance that “we” don’t agree with. Just like most things in life, we can’t have our cake and eat it to. There were many that championed LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony for their speech prior to the beginning of the ESPY’s in July; but there’s been an outcry for what Kaepernick did. I understand that many have used patriotism as a justification to for why they don’t support Kaepernick but in the end, he’s doing the same thing but in his own way. 

The greatest positive that can be taken from Kaepernick’s protest was that it was peaceful. He did something to show the country how he felt about race relations in a non-violent manner. Shouldn’t we be commending and not condemning him for that? You don’t have to like what he did but you should at least appreciate that he did it without harming anyone. In a time when violence is at an all-time high, let’s appreciate that someone [in the public eye] was able to reach out to [and touch] so many in a peaceful manner. 
If you like what you’ve read, you can find me on Twitter : @lavalleech

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