Justice

Twitter's Reaction to This NFL Star Validates His Decision

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit the national anthem out before a preseason game on Friday night against the Green Bay Packers, refusing to stand in protest to what he expressed was the oppression of people of color in the United States. 

"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," the footballer told National Football League (NFL) Media during a post-game interview, later referencing police violence against members of the black community.

He added, "There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." 

Although many have been supportive, Twitter had some thoughts on Kaepernick's decision to sit during the national anthem — and the words that many chose to use show us exactly why the quarterback is protesting. 

Predictably, some called his actions unpatriotic and hypocritical. 

But others went a different route when crying foul over Kaepernick's actions, resorting to racial slurs to make their case that America was not oppressive toward people of color, while ironically validating the athlete's decision through their own choice of words.  

Luckily, others have been openly supportive, including some fans on Twitter as well as many in the league, according to NFL columnist Mike Freeman.  

Kaepernick joins other athletes of color who have also used their celebrity to express solidarity with victims of police violence, including WNBA star Mistie Bass who along with several other athletes, was fined for wearing black warm-up shirts in solidarity with Alton Sterling and Philando Castile earlier this year. 

The NFL and Kaepernick's team have both responded to the footballer's protest, and their responses perhaps indicate that no similar punitive action will be taken. 

"Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem," said the NFL in a statement released Saturday. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers stated that the team "recognize[d] the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."