by Fr. Mark Miller, C.PP.S.
Remember the day when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem at an NFL Football game? For many people that was the first time, they noticed that Colin did not stand during the playing of the National Anthem. It was in August 2016, when he remained seated on the bench and when asked by a reporter after the game as to why he did this, he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.”
The next week, he took a knee during the National Anthem and was joined by Eric Reid. He went from sitting to kneeling after a conversation with a former Green Beret and NFL player, He says, “we sort of came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates” since soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave; you know, to show respect. He continued to demonstrate throughout the 2016 season. Many interpreted his actions as being unpatriotic. Even our President spoke some rather harsh words regarding his behavior. So, now what do we see?
We see policemen, mayors, and governors taking a knee alongside the protesters of today bringing attention to the murder of George Floyd. It is all about the same issue. What Kaepernick was trying to help us understand has escalated into demonstrations across this country to bring attention to the inequality in this country. Nothing of substance happened with the protest of Colin Kaepernick. Will something of substance happen through the protests of today? Let us work together to rid our country of racism.