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Freedom of Speech

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Recently, it was announced that Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid reached a settlement with the NFL. When Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the National Anthem, he invoked a worldwide debate. Everyone chimed in, even the President. Some argued his actions were disrespectful to the flag and the military. Others asserted he had every right to charge the first amendment rights by taking a knee. In the end, Kaepernick received the short portion of the stick. Not only was his starting position playing quarterback for the 49ers. lost, but he found himself without a signed professional football contract.

Rumors began to swirl, “Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid were black balled in the industry”, and soon after the lawsuit filed in court. In the midst of the madness; athletes, celebrities and everyday citizens showed support by “standing with Kap”. The divided fans had no choice but to pick sides, football or Colin Kaepernick. The NFL ratings dove into a blackhole with the least watched super bowl in the past ten years. Colin Kaepernick is no longer just a headline he’s cemented his page in the history books and the journey continues.

Just the other day an 11-year-old was arrested at his school. He got into a heated discussion with a substitute teacher who attempted to force him to stand during the pledge of allegiance. The substitute teacher did not follow the school policy. Students at this school were not required to stand during the pledge of allegiance if they did not want to participate. The school claims that the student was not arrested because of his refusal to stand, but that his arrest derived from “verbal assault and threats” that the on-campus resource officer heard. The child’s parents felt as though the situation only ended in arrest because their child was African American.

Ironically, Colin Kaepernick continuously states his actions to take a knee during the national anthem was originated as a protest of the “unarmed shooting of black men in America at alarming rates” not a protest about freedom of speech. In fact, Kaepernick is correct, in America, African American Males are more likely to get killed by the police than their white counterparts. They are also more likely to have negative interactions with police than their white counterparts. Some argue this statistic exist because black men tend to be more violent, but this is also untrue. Even black men with the college degrees and clean records are more likely to have a negative encounter than white males with similar backgrounds. Unfortunately, this statistic carries over into jail sentencing. On Average, black males who commit the same exact crime as their white counterparts receive longer sentences.

Regardless, if society agreed with Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem, he started a conversation that was heard around the world. Albeit, he may have received upwards to “40 million” in a settlement with the NFL he’s still yet to receive a new contract to play football. What will be the next chapter for Colin?

Works Cited

JReidESPN. “Colin Kaepernick Won. Period.” The Undefeated, The Undefeated, 16 Feb. 2019, theundefeated.com/features/colin-kaepernick-won-period/.

Pages, The Society. “POLICE KILLING OF BLACKS: Data for 2015, 2016, 2017, and First Half of 2018 - Sociology Toolbox.” Sociological Images Racializing the Abortion Debate Comments, 2018, thesocietypages.org/toolbox/police-killing-of-blacks/.

Phillips, Kristine. “Florida Sixth-Grader Arrested after Dispute with Teacher over Pledge of Allegiance.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 Feb. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/02/17/florida-sixth-grader-charged-with-misdemeanor-after-refusing-recite-pledge-allegiance/?utm_term=.645e7f20be38.

Rishe, Patrick. “How The NFL's Settlement With Colin Kaepernick May Have Approached $40 Million.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 19 Feb. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/prishe/2019/02/19/why-the-nfls-settlement-with-colin-kaepernick-may-have-approached-40-million/#48f4f8464bfb.