Telling The Real Stories

Kaepernick stirs national anthem free speech

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Athletes from all across the country are refusing to stand during the national anthem in order to protest the social injustices in the United States. People’s reactions vary from standing by the athlete’s efforts to protesting them. Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, was the first of many athletes to take the stand starting in August at an NFL exhibition game.

The most recent addition to this protest is Team USA’s midfielder Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe knelt while representing Team USA in the matchup against Thailand in Columbus, Ohio this month. People from all over made complaints that Rapinoe is wearing the USA jersey but refuses to represent the anthem that symbolizes what the country was founded on.

A Twitter poll was conducted to see what people in the area thought of the professional athletes who are refusing to stand during the anthem, and out of 87 people who participated, only 31 percent agreed with the stance taken. The other 69 percent disagreed.  

While many Americans are against the protest, there are some people who see it as a good thing. “They’re famous people and what they are creating is talk and talk is what’s good about what is going on,” Collin Krause, a student at St. Cloud State University said. “Some people don’t find it, but Colin Kaepernick went and talked to two veterans and had a conversation with them, and he agreed not to stand but kneel. I feel he doesn’t do it just to get attention, he is trying to make a point and trying to make a change in the world,” Krause said.

When asked about how SCSU would handle student athletes if they chose to exercise their First Amendment right, Athletic Director Heather Weems stated, “St. Cloud State University values our students and their right to exercise free speech. So long as any demonstration and action does not impede the operations of the game, nor create an undue safety risk, the university would support their free speech.” Weems also mentioned the measures that were being taken on campus. “Some of our coaches have already engaged in discussion about the meaning of these protests with their teams as a way to encourage dialogue and understanding,” Weems said.

Some people may agree and others will continue to disagree on what it means to not stand during the anthem. With all of the racial tension going on in the nation, this problem is not likely to vanish anytime soon.

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