To Be Frank…

Pellino discusses Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem and Trump’s response



Guest Writer

Aug. 14, 2016. It was just another day when the San Francisco 49ers took the eld for what was their first pre- season game of the 2016 NFL season. The players took the eld and the cameras started rolling. Everyone watched and listened to the playing of the national anthem before kickoff.


But what nobody noticed was the backup quarterback,

who didn’t even dress for the game, sitting down while the anthem played. The anthem ended and the game started. Not a soul took notice to Colin Kaepernick’s ever so silent protest regarding the unjust police killings of African Americans. In fact, he did it again the next week in another game he did not dress for.

It wasn’t until the third week of the preseason that people turned their attention to Kaepernick and his kneeling protest. He made national headlines and now the rest is, as irony would have it, history.

Sept. 22, 2017. Speaking in Huntsville Alabama, President Trump sounded o on NFL players who chose to follow in Kaepernick’s footsteps.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag…” Trump said. “Get that son of a bitch o the eld right now, out. He’s red. He’s red!”

Donald Trump re-opened a controversial topic that had recently been placed on the back burners, with just a few NFL players taking a knee or protesting in other ways during the anthem. But the “sons of bitches” responded.


That Sunday, players across the league made their feelings known as entire teams began taking knees and not coming out of the locker room for the playing of the national anthem. Now, the topic has reignited and now there’s a side to choose.

To stand or not to stand – that now seems to be the question we ask ourselves when the national anthem rings aloud at sporting events and other gatherings.

You are disrespecting the military and those who have fought and died to protect this country if you don’t stand, but if you don’t protest you’re a part of the racial problem.

Kaepernick’s stand, or should I say knee, has transformed into an entirely different argument. He wasn’t disrespecting the men and women who fight and give their lives in the name of the country. He was only exercising his right that those same men and women are fighting to protect. His protest is just as American and patriotic as the song that he kneels during.


Kaepernick’s protest is just as American as the moment Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus. And Parks wasn’t protesting the buses, she was using it as a platform to stand up for equality – the very same equality Kaepernick is fighting for.

And while he can’t find a job in the NFL, he is still out there fighting for what he believes in. He is inspiring others to stand up against the inequality. He is inspiring columns like these, and showing African American youth that their lives do in fact matter.

It’s okay to stand for the military, past and present. It’s okay to stand out of respect to the history of this country. It’s okay not to agree with Colin Kaepernick. But it’s not okay to say that these protests are wrong. It’s not okay to call those exercising their First Amendment right “sons of bitches”. If you stand or if you sit, it’s understandable – just don’t hate those who do either.