Colin Kaepernick’s decision to “take the knee” during the national anthem is viewed as unpatriotic to many, and certainly to Jay Ambrose (“Ex-NFL star ignores American achievements,” July 11, 2019). I take a completely opposite view from Mr. Ambrose. First, while I sympathize with those who want to keep politics out of sports, it seems to be impossible to do so. Examples abound in the NFL, particularly during and after the Trump presidential campaign of 2016.
When the Black Lives Matter movement brought the plight of black youths to the forefront of the national spotlight, Mr. Kaepernick used his platform as a football player to protest the treatment of persons of color. This was, and continues to be, a non-violent approach to present his point of view.
As one who was young during the race riots of the past century, the idea of non-violence to effect change is not just appealing, but has also been effective. And, contrary to Mr. Ambrose’s opinion, the fact that a football star used his position to try and bring about change in a non-violent manner, is, in my opinion, very patriotic. Colin Kaepernick not only risked his football career, to highlight injustice, but lost it. The fact that he found a new career as an advertising brand for Nike is beside the point.
I hope that Jay Ambrose can see a more a positive side of Kaepernick’s protest. Mr. Ambrose used President Obama’s speech to the 2016 graduating class at Howard University about how far African Americans have come since slavery to justify his criticism of Kaepernick’s protest. It is true that there have been many positive changes since slavery was abolished, but that doesn’t mean that on the Fourth of July, and every other day, we shouldn’t be working to continue the cause of social justice. Colin Kaepernick did his job, now we need to do ours, and stand (or kneel) with him — continuing, each day, the fight for human rights.