Last month, the entire country was set into a frenzy after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the national anthem before a preseason game. This action by Kaepernick set the United States media on fire.
By now, everyone has heard the story, and may be tired of hearing about it. Many players across the NFL have joined Kaepernick in this protest. Former teammate of Kapernick’s at the University of Nevada, and Denver Broncos linebacker, Brandon Marshall, kneeled during the national anthem of the opening night match up against the Carolina Panthers.
Other players have been seen raising their fists during the national anthem as well. A lot of people would like to accuse Kaepernick, and others, as being disrespectful to the country’s military and everyone involved in protecting our country. However, this is not about the military. This is not about disrespecting a flag, or any of the people that live in this country.
Kaepernick has said he has “immense respect” for the military. Nobody is discrediting the military and what they mean to our country and our safety. This is about standing up and speaking out against an issue that is ongoing in America.
Colin Kapernick is a professional athlete. Just like many other professional athletes, millions of people know who he is, and millions of people take note when he says something. I applaud Kaepernick, and everyone else who has participated in these protests, for using the platform they are on, to shed light on a subject has caused harm to people all across America.
Many people ask, “why put yourself out there like that?” Saying that these athletes are doing this to “get attention.” If Kaepernick wanted attention, he could just as easily put on a costume and sneak into a Vegas casino instead of going to team meetings, like Johnny Manziel. What these athletes are doing is speaking out for the many victims, and their family and friends, who have faced injustice at the hands of the police.
The issue of police brutality has taken a local spin. Tuesday afternoon, 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was killed by police officers. The officers claimed to be serving and outstanding warrant, and felt in danger after Scott exited his vehicle, with what has been alleged to be a gun.
At this point, everyone has an opinion on the matter. The only certainty from this incident is that Keith Scott has lost his life. A man that was in his vehicle, going about his day, was killed by police officers that were not even there for him. Details on the incident will be forthcoming, and more clearance will be provided on the matter in the days to come.
However, a fatal incident occurred in our city, and as Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton put it, we “need people to be held accountable.” Newton spoke on Tuesday’s events during a press conference on Wednesday. “I’m a firm believer in justice and I’m a firm believer of doing the right thing”, Newton said on Wednesday. “I’m not happy with how justice has been dealt with over the years.”
Following his press conference, Newton took to Instagram to continue to express how he felt about the situation. Newton posted a photo of him and Colin Kaepernick from Sunday afternoon’s game. “I salute my brother (Kaepernick) for making a stand for injustice in this country, but… the real problem is, and always will be, the people and how we treat one another.” Newton also disregarded any rumors that there was a rift in him and Kapernick’s friendship.
The protests against this issue were present on campus Wednesday. Many students at UNCC participated in a peaceful protest in the student union. Students were seen laying on the ground, singing together in uplifting songs, and having group prayer.
This is a great example of a group of people coming together in mourning of a lost civilian, and a hope for change in the future. This is not an easy time for the city of Charlotte, UNCC, or the United States of America. Everyone has an opinion on this issue. Not everyone agrees on why it happened, how it happened, or what they would do if they were in the police officer’s position on Tuesday afternoon.
No matter how you feel about the situation, we all share this city, and we all want a safe environment to live in. I love the city of Charlotte and am proud to live here. It pains me to see this city at such a divide. The only way for us as a community, a school, and a country, to move on and grow from this incident is to come together as one unit, and promote positivity in our lives and the lives of the people around us.
Together we will mourn the loss of a proud Charlotte civilian, and step forward into the future as a community.