PROTEST: NFL star Colin Kaepernick (right), of the San Francisco 49ers, is joined by teammate Eric Reid (left) in kneeling during the national anthem, a move which has sparked debate
A POLL of Voice readers has found an overwhelming number are in support of refusing to stand for a national anthem as an effective way to protest.
NFL football star Colin Kaepernick has been the subject of heated debates over his refusal to stand for the American national anthem in protest at the treatment of black citizens by police officers.
Kaepernick told NFL Media in a post-game interview: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.
“To me, this is bigger than football. There are bodies in the street and people getting away with murder.”
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback revealed he has been the victim of death threats since beginning his protest.
“To me, if something like that were going to happen,you’ve proved my point,” he said. “It would be loud and clear for everyone why it happened. That would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now. Granted, I don’t want that to happen. But that’s the realisa- tion of what could happen.”
The polarising protest has been slammed by critics as “unpatriotic” and supporters as “brave”, even sparking support from military veterans under the social media hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick
Among Voice readers, 68 per cent voted in favour of refusing to stand for a national anthem driven by the belief that it symbolises oppression, with a further 20 per cent noting that the silent protest was an effective way to attract
attention. Just four per cent were not in favour, arguing that refusing to respect the national anthem was a disregard of the armed men and women who died fighting for the country, while eight per cent also voted against the protest suggesting that there are “other ways to make a statement”.
The 28-year-old has pledged the funds raised from his top- selling football jersey to organisations supporting his cause of racial equality. He plans to give away $100,000 (£77,000) a month for the next 10 months totalling $1 million (£770,000).
Kaepernick said: “I want to make sure that not only am I transparent about what I’m doing, but these organisations are transparent about where the money is going as well.”