Protest or Betrayal?


The Pledge of Allegiance has always been a way of commemorating and admiring the many noble sacrifices of those in the armed forces. However, as society quickly ages in a state of consciousness and enlightenment, more and more people question the validity in the words they recite every day at school, events, and work.

African Americans constantly find themselves at the hands of hateful resentment and binding stigmas. Over the years, police brutality became ever so common in the promising, “Land of the Free,” known as White America. There are those who plan to stand against theses vile injustices such as Colin Kaepernick and others who follow his stand for equality.

In 2016, NFL star quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a trend of silently kneeling and sitting during The National Anthem.  He was protesting inequality and injustice against minorities in America, mainly African Americans. This caused several other NFL teams, students, celebrities, and other athletes to also practice this powerful action during the National Anthem. After his bold protest, Colin Kaepernick to this day is unsigned by any team in the NFL. For simply standing for what he believed in, he has been outcasted by the very organization that once loved and supported him.

Kaepernick’s actions were taken not as a protest, but as a betrayal against his country and those who fought for it. This would serve as a large crack which would split the country into those who support or oppose the protest of the national anthem.

On September 4, 2018, Nike stood with Kaepernick by opening a new campaign featuring Kaepernick as the face of a new ad. The statement  “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” was presented along with an attractive film showcasing several athletes who faced obstacles in their life, both big and small yet overcame them. This not only supported Kaepernick’s fight for equality, but brought a message of not giving up on what you believe.

Some may say that Nike only stands with him for economic gain, but Nike has previously stood with those in favor of protecting what they believe, such as the ground shattering “Make Yourself” campaign in 2010 or the vibrant “Equality” commercials of 2017.

It was very clear that Nike will always proudly stand on the sides of those without a voice. But those in disagreement with Nike’s stance hastily began to bash Nike for standing with Kaepernick.

Individuals against Kaepernick’s views saw this campaign as another means of disrespect against their flag. Tweets and statements by Trump, such as, “…But I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it,” would further add gas to the fire.

Soon after people who became agitated with the movement began to mercilessly burn and destroy clothes and shoes branded by Nike. Some teachers and coaches across the country would shamefully punish students and players who didn’t stand for the pledge or anthem in the form of detentions, suspensions, lectures etc. The justification for these punishments was that their actions of kneeling and sitting were “disrespectful” or unethical to their country.

It’s amazing that all these heated debates and controversies stemmed from one man trying to make a stand for what he believed in. The most mind-boggling theme of all these events is a protest to a protest, similar to the scorching hot Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter controversy that was started a few years back.

Witnesses to this split in the nation should now begin to ask themselves whether this movement is a protest to cruel injustice or an open betrayal to their country.