OPINION: The tension between police, minorities is the real problem herecsudhbulletin October 9, 2016 0 COMMENTS
By Carlos Alvarez
The 2016 NFL season kicked off four weeks ago with 32 teams aspiring to be the last two playing for the Vince Lombardi trophy in Houston.
While the play on the field has been dominated by hard-hitting tackles, game-winning drives and amazing receptions, San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still making headlines for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of how police treat minorities.
The public outrage can only be described as comical. Kaepernick has been called unpatriotic. His upbringing has been questioned. His sincerity challenged.
A man who is kneeling is merely exercising his First Amendment rights, the right to freely express one’s beliefs, no matter religion or race. The United States of America was founded on these principles. Right?
How can we live in a society that attempts to vilify an individual, even consider him an enemy of the state for trying to bring national attention to an injustice (police brutality) being committed in communities nationwide?
In an interview with NFL media on Aug. 27, Kaepernick explained.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
While there are those who will say that millions of soldiers have died for our freedom, flag and country, those remarks further justify his protest. This is not about our flag, or the members of our Armed Forces, it is about using his platform to give a voice to the voiceless, the minorities harmed or killed without justification by police.
Voice to Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and countless others who have been affected by injustice at the hands of law enforcement.
His protest and actions are not intended to disrespect the Armed Forces or the work of good law enforcement personnel. Can we stop using his protest as a way to move away from the real problem? This is not about being pro- or anti-law enforcement; it’s about finding a solution.
The lack of training for our law enforcement officers is the real problem. The tension between law enforcement and our communities is the real problem. The mistrust citizens have toward law enforcement is the real problem.
Kaepernick kneeled to make a stand. Now is the time to move on and educate ourselves to take our own stand.