The buzz of the sports world over the last day has involved San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit down while the national anthem played before a game. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, this isn’t the first time that Kaepernick did this during the preseason:
But still, people noticed that Kaepernick took a stand by sitting down, and it became the biggest story of the weekend. Kaepernick explained that he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” With how race relations have been in the spotlight during the 2016 election cycle (and, really, over the last few years), this became a huge story.
A number of NFL players have reportedly expressed solidarity with Kaepernick for his decision. One player who disagrees with his actions is Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. Cruz contends that standing for the anthem is “bigger” than any one person, and told NJ.com that “you’ve got to respect the flag”:
“I think, personally, the flag is the flag,” he said. “Regardless of how you feel about things that are going on in America today and things that are going on across the world with gun violence and things of that nature, you’ve got to respect the flag.
“You’ve got to stand up with your teammates. It’s bigger than just you, in my opinion. I think you go up there, your with your team, and you pledge your allegiance to the flag and sing the national anthem with your team. And then you go about your business no matter what your beliefs are.”
There have been a lot of takes from people who are quite angry about Kaepernick’s decision to sit down for the national anthem. It’s a divisive issue for a lot of folks, which has led to a lack of tact whenever this topic comes up. Even if you disagree with his stance, Cruz deserves some credit for not resorting to name calling and insults when he discusses the way Kaepernick carried himself.