Sideline Report: Here we go again

Sideline Report discusses and adds insight on all of the happenings of the wide world of sports

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Senior Braden Shaw proves to be the biggest sports fan. Ever.

Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

Welcome back to the third year of the Sideline Report, a space where I can make outrageous claims and defend my wildly unpopular opinions. Sports are a passion of mine and if you’re reading this I’d assume you feel the same. So here we go yet again as I give my take on the ever changing arena of sports.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

Football is starting again, finally, and as with any sport there’s plenty of controversy surrounding the beginning of the season. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell are both suspended. A former quarterback Tim Tebow is trying out for Major League Baseball. Also, the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos have no idea what they’re doing at the quarterback position.

But the controversy off the field grabbing headlines is the act of defiance by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Essentially, he’s taken it upon himself to not stand during the national anthem prior to each preseason game. This is due to the racial discrimination and recent acts of violence in the United States and he’ll stand when the flag represents what he believes in.

From his reasoning alone, it’s an admirable stance to take. As I mentioned earlier, he, like so many others, believes that the racial tension and violence in the United States needs to stop. It’s also not uncommon for an athlete or anyone with some form of fame to use their platform to force change. Kaepernick is choosing to use a pregame ritual to prove his point and he’s getting lots of backlash.

Kaepernick’s actions have been a polarizing topic recently and the hashtag “#VetsforKaepernick” even started trending on Twitter. He’s gained both support and criticism from every medium. With all of these mixed reactions, it begs the question: Is Kaepernick right or wrong?

As I said earlier, I appreciate that he’s taking a stand to force change. But sitting or kneeling during the national anthem as boos rain down from the crowd isn’t the way to go. Honestly, he’s just going about this all the wrong way.

Instead of refusing to participate in the national anthem and talking about change, why does he not do something about it? He’s painting himself as a martyr for his cause, but he just needs to literally stand up for what’s right. Respect the flag and what it represents.

That flag hanging above every stadium in the National Football League represents the freedoms of this country and the sacrifices made to have those freedoms. Athletes should be able to speak their minds, even if it’s unpopular. Kaepernick is entitled to his opinion, but he just needs to actually do something more meaningful than protesting an American tradition.

I don’t have a clear solution or answer to this situation. I just know that I’d rather be watching the players on the field than how they act on the sidelines.

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