Taking a stand by taking a knee


Mike Morbeck/Wikimedia Commons

Kaepernick kneels before a San Francisco 49ers game.Before leaving the NFL Kaepernick led the team to a super bowl victory in in 2012.

Trent Willhite, Drone Photojournalist

Colin Kaepernick is the quarterback who forever will be known as the man who kneeled during the national anthem. Kaepernick shocked the world by sitting alone when the national anthem was playing before a preseason game in 2016.
When photos started to go viral of him kneeling, there was an uproar of NFL fans across the nation who were in shock that a millionaire athlete could “disrespect the American flag.” However, they failed to consider the reason he did it.
Colin Rand Kaepernick was born on Nov. 3, 1987 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a teenage mother who gave him up for adoption. At just a few weeks old, Heidi Russo, Kaepernick’s biological birth mother, met with Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple who had just lost their two babies to heart disease. The Kaepernicks took in the young baby to try to give him a better life than his birth mother could.
When the Kaepernicks adopted Kaepernick, they saw no color. They just saw a young boy who needed help. Even though they didn’t care about his bi-racial background, those around him did. Kaepernick’s parents would often receive stares and strange comments from others. This raised questions in Kaepernick’s mind at a very young age, but noticing the difference in the color of his skin did not stop him. Some might say it motivated him.
Throughout high school, he maintained a 4.0 G.P.A, and in his senior year, he was a first-team All-District, All-Conference and All- Academic selection, dominating in basketball, football and baseball. Throwing a fastball at 94 miles-per-hour, he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the forty-third round of the 2009 MLB draft. Passing over this opportunity, he stuck with his passion, which was football. He took his only offer from a college team: University of Nevada in Reno.
There he would tune his skill as quarterback, earning the starting position his freshman year. By the end of his college career, he had become the first quarterback of a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000 yards. He was quickly noticed by NFL scouts and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft.
Kaepernick had finally reached his dream of becoming an NFL player. He played as backup quarterback throughout his rookie year behind Alex Smith, and then in his second year he was given an opportunity. After Smith was sidelined by a concussion, Kaepernick was finally starting. Given one shot at the starting position, he went on to help the 49ers get a superbowl victory in 2012.
Even though he achieved his dream and reached millionaire status, Kaepernick saw a difference in the way people were treated due to their skin color. So, he decided to do something about it. He took one knee. One knee that, some say, “ruined” his career, millionaire status and NFL dream. Nevertheless, Kaepernick took the knee, believing it would be step in the right direction.