One of the greatest perks of living in America is the practice of the first amendment. It provides citizens with multiple opportunities to make changes and air grievances they may have with our government or society as a whole.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

This amendment is also extended to San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. His stand in the spotlight does not revoke his rights, but rather provides a platform to address issues, such as police brutality, while also opening himself up to criticism.

Staff writer Emily Kim addressed Kaepernick sitting down during the national anthem in her article, “NFL players sit in spotlight.”

But as the first amendment states, citizens are encouraged to exercise their right to freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest, both of which are methods Kaepernick used to convey his message of disapproval regarding social and racial injustices in America.

Is he wrong? Disrespectful? Ungrateful? Not entirely. While people may find fault in his protesting, Kaepernick is entitled to do so, under protection of the first amendment.

If he isn’t hurting himself, others, or the space in which he is playing, who are we as a society to judge his beliefs? His silent, peaceful moment of protest once a week should be the least of our worries as a society, as we have much bigger issues to worry about. Let’s channel this anger for Kaepernick toward fixing the issues his protest stands for.

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