Victor Cruz Slams Colin Kaepernick's Decision Not to Stand During the National Anthem
Sometimes the most effective thing you can do to make a statement is stand in your truth, which is exactly what 49ers player Colin Kaepernick did at Saturday night's game.
When the national anthem played at the game, Kaepernick decided to sit down in protest of the unaddressed racial injustices that occur on a daily basis in the United States. He told NFL.com that he is not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or a country that oppresses Black people and other groups of color.
"To me this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way," he said. "There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
The 49ers have publicly issued a statement saying that while the national anthem will always be a special part of the pre-game ceremony, they are respecting Kaepernick's "freedom of expression." Likewise, his coach and teammates are supporting Kaepernick in his choice as well.
On the other hand, some aren't as forgiving. Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, for instance, didn't agree with Kaepernick's decision. In a statement, the part-Puerto Rican, part-African American said it's bigger than just the individual, it's about the team.
"I think you go up there, you're with your team, and you pledge your allegiance to the flag and sing the national anthem with your team, and then you go about your business no matter what your beliefs are," Cruz said. "Colin is his own man. He decided to sit down and sit out and that's his perogative. But from a personal standpoint, I think you've got to stand up there with your team and understand that it's a game and what's going on in the country is bigger than this."
These comments, and others from outside parties, haven't seemed to faze Kaepernick, who says he will continue to sit and "stand with the people that are being oppressed."
"I think there's a lot of consequences that come along with this," Kaepernick said. "There's a lot of people that don't want to have this conversation. You know they're scared they might lose their job or they might not get their endorsements, they might not be treated the same way. And those are things I'm prepared to handle."
As more athletes and celebrities continue to stand up for the Black Lives Matter movement and against police brutality, hopefully actions like Kaepernick's will be met with more understanding and less backlash.