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The Colin Kaepernick debate remains a national news story, but media channels have waned with their coverage recently as nationally impactful stories seem to break on the daily. The latest development in the Kaepernick saga has seen a resurgence in discussion and prevalence as Kaepernick was honored as GQ’s Citizen of the Year. This has spawned more discourse on whether individuals are “standing” with him or are kneeling out.

Ever since Kaepernick’s initial silent kneeling for the anthem, debate has raged on as to whether Kaepernick is a social justice hero, or a degenerate quarterback utilizing an extremely sensitive issue for personal gain.

Stances vary, and the Kaepernick controversy has brought about very strong opinions and very different positions, and we see that on a smaller scale as a staff here at the UTC Echo.

On one side of the spectrum, many staff members find the award very appropriate and well deserved. Kaepernick has brought a lot of crucial awareness and discussion to racial injustice, and has created a movement that should only continue to promote necessary awareness. He has also donated a lot of time and money to activism and appropriate charities, along with pledging to donate all of the net proceeds from his jersey sales.

On the other side, members see Kaepernick as undeserving and believe there were more appropriate and justified candidates. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt raised over 37 million dollars for hurricane relief after Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston. Pop singer Ariana Grande also dedicated herself to the city of Manchester after the horrific bombing at her concert, and aided in raising over 13 million dollars. Qualifications and merit for the award are open to interpretation, and there is always a question on if the right person was chosen. Nonetheless, speculation on the legitimacy of Kaepernick’s stance creates heavier disapproval.

Whether you’re all in on the Take A Knee movement, or you question Kaepernick’s intentions and validity, there are some concretes. Kaepernick has non-violently drawn attention to racial inequality and police brutality, and has bravely utilized his platform in the place of those without one. Also, Kaepernick has sported socks depicting cops as pigs and donned a Fidel Castro shirt and hat in a national press conference. Regardless of stance, there is no question as to the controversy stemming from Kaepernick’s movement and actions. The only complete certainty is the simple fact that we have just grazed the surface on what this man, this discussion, and this movement will ultimately effectuate.

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