Kaepernick protests the national anthem alongside high school football players

post by Cia.

Colin Kaepernick has continued to protest the American National anthem; this time, he's done so in the form of supporting a protest by high school football players.

Wearing a Muhammad Ali shirt, Colin Kaepernick delivered an inspirational speech about racial equality in the locker room of Castlemont High School in Oakland, California. He preached unity, telling the students to ‘look out for one another’ and to ‘lift each other up’. At the end of the pre-game speech, Kaepernick told the students surrounding him that he had come to Castlemont ‘because of the same way y’all took a stand’ (referring to the fact that the Castlemont Knights knelt during the National Anthem before a football game a week earlier in response to Kaepernick’s protest on August 26th), and that he wanted to come out here and stand with them.

Later on, the football team laid on their backs with their hands up during the national anthem as a form of die-in protest against police brutality in the United States. Die-in protests involve protesters playing dead - the Black Lives Matter movement has staged die-ins before.  Kaepernick was seen kneeling with the team during the anthem. This was an incredibly powerful moment: the team choosing to lie as they did was clearly in protest of the murder of Terence Crutcher (who was shot in the back with his hands up on the 16th of September).

Castlemont isn’t the only school to have protested against police brutality - this week, students at North Carolina State University protested the death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, and Oklahoma University students protested Terence Crutcher’s death too.  Kaepernick’s initial protest before a football game against the Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara, California has sparked attention towards the treatment of people of colour by the US police. Protesting the US national anthem is more of a legitimate act of political conscience than ever.The fact that Kaepernick personally delivered a speech about racial equality and the importance of brotherhood to a locker room of (predominantly black) high school student shows exactly how much he cares about educating and protecting young people from police brutality.

Some admire Kaepernick for his dedication to the cause, but others, such as ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, have criticised Kaepernick for bringing so much attention upon himself. Dilfer said that “no matter how passionate you are, no matter how much of a burden you have for social issues, you don’t let it get in the way of the team.” Across social media, Instagram commenters called Kaepernick and his actions ‘disrespectful’ to the US military. Many veterans themselves, however, supported Kaepernick and his actions, saying that even if they didn’t agree with Kaepernick, they had served to defend the first amendment of the US Constitution (the right to free speech and the right not to defend the flag) with the hashtag #VeteransforKaepernick. Since Colin Kaepernick’s original decision to kneel during the national anthem, several other college students and football teams across America have copied his actions.

Many people seem to dislike the fact that Colin Kaepernick has forced America to confront issues that are widely misunderstood or ignored -  to his most loyal supporters, Kaepernick’s ability to spark a conversation within sport about police brutality and racial equality has earned him the nickname of ‘modern Muhammad Ali’.