Colin Kapernick Can You See?

 

Anyone who has ever attended a Baltimore Orioles game knows that we Orioles fans are famous for shouting “O!” during the singing of the National Anthem.

This, of course, can be heard the loudest in our home Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, but many of us have heard it on the road from Miami to LA. One is less likely to hear it any of our AL East rival cities like Boston or New York, but we yell it anyway to many dirty looks.

When it comes to the National Anthem, I tend to be a traditionalist. Protocol and etiquette are important to me. I admit to feeling slightly guilty yelling “O!” during the singing of such a sacred national song when one should technically be standing at attention.

Meanwhile, Colin Kapernick, a football player for the San Francisco 49’ers has decided not to stand at all.

That bothered me. A lot. I said a lot of uprintable words about it. I may have even suggested that he book a one way flight to North Korea and see if he likes it better there.

But then I realized that if I am truly an American, I am obligated to accept the fact that he is exercising his Constitutional right to public protest.

Asked why he refused to stand for the National Anthem he stated to NFL Media: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way….” 

Why, just outside our lovely little brick-lined Oriole Park at Camden Yards is one example of that of which he is speaking. The place where Freddie Gray, an unarmed African-American man died last spring in police custody, sparking rioting and violence in the City of Baltimore. An issue, of course, not exclusive to Baltimore.

If Kapernick’s intention is to bring more light to these issues in the hope of finding solutions, then good.

But I see the National Anthem differently. To me, it represents something much bigger than the issues before us today. It is a fight song. It says that despite the perilous fights before us, despite the bombs bursting in air, we can prevail.

While we are far from perfect, we are still the best deal in the world.

For that reason, I will always stand.

“O!” say, can you see?

7 thoughts on “Colin Kapernick Can You See?

  1. The Baseball Bloggess September 8, 2016 / 7:01 pm

    Good post, Maria!

    It’s been very interesting to hear how some people have become so angry over this, isn’t it? I, personally, feel proud to live in a country that allows people like Colin Kaepernick to disagree with their government, and to argue for change through peaceful protest and not have to risk going to jail … or worse. The “land of the free” is right there in the song … but some people are too charged up to even see that.

    I have had people tell me over the years that they are offended by the way Orioles fans do the “O!” yell in the song. They consider it disrespectful. I don’t know. Maybe they’re right. I have come back with different versions of “You know the tune is a drinking song” and “Well, it’s Baltimore’s song, you know.” (But, out of respect, I only do the “O!” now when I’m at a home game.)

    Actually, standing for the National Anthem (with right hand over the heart) is a Federal Law … The U.S. Flag Code passed in 1942. I don’t think it’s ever been enforced. Which means that Kaepernick is technically in violation of the law by kneeling.

    But, we are a country that was founded on protest that included breaking all sorts of British laws in order to create our nation. From our founding, to abolishing slavery, to Suffrage, to Civil Rights, we have accomplished many important things through peaceful protest. Kaepernick is just carrying on this American tradition of protest, and I’m so grateful to live in a free country where he can do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She Talks Baseball September 8, 2016 / 10:22 pm

      Yes – I agree!!! It made me angry at first, but then I respect his rights to do so.

      Like

  2. kristianw84 September 8, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    I completely agree with you. Hines Ward had this to say about Colin Kapernick & he said it better than I ever could:
    Hines Ward
    August 30 at 10:21am ·
    “I’m not down on Kaepernick promoting his cause or the timing of it. I respect that. But I don’t agree with the method he chose. Our national anthem stands for our freedom for all Americans regardless of color. It symbolizes the very reason Kaepernick is able to speak his mind and exercise his first amendment rights. If you want to make a point or take a stand, go straight after the root of that cause. Don’t disrespect the whole country or the organization that’s paying you millions of dollars to play football.”- Hines

    Like

    • She Talks Baseball September 8, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      GREAT! Thank you for sharing that. I agree. While Kapernick’s point is obviously very valid, I think the National Anthem is bigger than one issue, however critical it may be.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. T. Wayne September 8, 2016 / 2:52 am

    While I don’t think it is the best way to do it, I won’t ever say that he can’t. The whole country was founded on protest. The early colonists protested to have freedom of religion from England, they protested the taxes from the British. Not to mention all the protests of the late fifties and the sixties to help people like me get some semblance of where we are today; even as it seems we are sometimes heading in the wrong direction in terms of race.

    Great post, and I’m glad you felt comfortable to share your feelings about it.

    Like

    • She Talks Baseball September 8, 2016 / 10:27 pm

      Thanks T! We agree (as usual) 🙂 I didn’t like it at first, but the man’s points are valid and he has every right to make that statement in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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