Minority rights, women’s rights, gay rights. Through the eyes of a group of people, including athletes, these are the rights that are lacking in the United States.
Recently U.S soccer star Megan Rapinoe expressed her stance about women’s rights by kneeling during the national anthem. Why? She thinks women and men athletes should receive equal pay. She, and many other athletes, think that by not participating in the national anthem, they demonstrate that the United States is missing major rights. However, what they see as a form of standing up for what’s right, others see as dishonoring their country.
Colin Kaepernick was one of the first athletes to opt out of the national anthem. He believed that the United States did not treat African Americans and other minorities fairly. Colin influenced many other athletes — who also thought the country was mistreating people — to join in this protest. One of those athletes who joined in on this movement was Rapinoe. “I’m not going to the f-----g White House,” was what Rapinoe said, demonstrating the feelings athletes have towards the government.
Many people, including myself, see this behavior as confusing, considering these athletes conflicting with their own country.
Megan expressed her opinion, “I think I stand for honesty, for truth and for wanting to have the conversation. And for looking at the country honestly and saying, yes, we are a great country and there are many things that are so amazing ... But also, that doesn’t mean that we can’t get better. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t always strive to be better."
After Rapinoe came out to the public about her stance, my brain switched and I was able to see through her eyes. I was able to understand that her actions weren’t out of hatred for the country, but because she loved it enough to critique it.
As a child I played various sports. It was my passion and something I took very seriously. My father loved watching me play and talked to me about my performance after a game. Despite how I played he would always tell me the things I could improve on.
At times it was frustrating never getting positive feedback. But, as I matured, I learned the meaning. My dad didn’t critique me because he doesn’t love me or support me. He does it because he sees the potential in me and wants me to be the best version of myself.
Similar to my dad, Rapinoe just wants the United States to be the best version it can be, and for it to represent the flag. The flag that so many people died for. Men and women gave their lives to make America a free country. A country with rights. A country where one can express their mind.
So why is it wrong for an athlete to be upset that that same country isn’t supplying the rights the people deserve?
Kobe Gubernick is a student at Brigham Young University from San Diego, Calif.