He did nothing.

By now, most Americans have heard of Colin Kaepernick. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you’ve probably heard of the football player who decided to sit down for his rights. A lot of people became angry that this man sat down during the National Anthem.

My mind goes odd places sometimes (lots of times) and I had an odd thought. While thinking about Mr. Kaepernick’s actions, an image flashed into my head of an angry fan. The fan was screaming something to the effect of, “He can’t do that! That’s not what we pay him for!” And my mind continued.

What if the real reason people are upset about the football player “voicing an opinion” is that the fans don’t want to be reminded that the players are people with lives and emotions? That these players can affect change if they rose up? That they can rise up if they chose to? That they are not just pawns on a field, being told what to do and how to do it by their fans?

It’s as if some sports fans expect players to do nothing but entertain. It’s as if they expect a player to be taken out of a box specifically for games and nothing else. Like a trained animal. And what does a bad master do when a trained animal bites back? He beats it. The yelling on the Internet feels like that’s what the fans are trying to do: remind the trained animal of its place in the master’s world.

And if bad fans believe sports players are trained animals, then no wonder some became so upset when Mr. Kaepernick voiced an opinion. They weren’t expecting it. Weren’t expecting a voice from the trained animal.

Is that really what we’re doing to sports players? If it is, then we need to change that attitude. Athletes are human beings, not trained animals. They need to be able to act like human beings,  but some fans seem to forget that.

Mr. Kaepernick is doing what he felt was right. He took the most non aggressive stance he could possibly take. He didn’t hurt anyone. He didn’t yell. He literally didn’t do anything. It is his right not to. It is his right to express an opinion contrary to our own. He has a mind and can use it. Stop thinking he and others like him are trained animals, or one day, they might bite you.

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