Army Spc. Jose Martinez's response to Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick is still in the news.

In case you’ve been living under a rock and missed it, the 49ers reserve quarterback is taking heat for refusing to stand for the National Anthem, claiming it is in protest to the way the nation “oppresses black people and people of color.”

Forget the hypocrisy that he, himself, is a man of color that has been afforded amazing opportunities and the ability to make millions of dollars playing a sport in this country.  But his whole protest misses the mark.

The problems that Colin addresses – the recent police violence against black youth – are real problems and they should be addressed with the goal of making a positive change.

So how does Colin plan on making a positive change on this issue?

By sitting back and doing nothing.


Look, we recognize this country has flaws.  But, as SPC Martinez says in this video, those flaws certainly do not define us as a nation.

Kaepernick has every right not to stand for the anthem.  A right that people like Jose fought for.  But if he wants to make a change – then work towards making that change. 

I was with Jose and film director Evan Matthews when we started discussing this issue and the first thing that Jose noted was the fact that Kaepernick has the money and the nationwide podium to do good on this issue – and he isn’t using it.

  • Start or fund charities working towards a change. 
  • Work with the local police and the youth community to bring about better understanding.
  • Be a part of a movement that ACTUALLY addresses the issue properly.

The anthem encompasses a hell of a lot more than just these flaws.  There is a lot of good in this country; Good that all of us can be proud of.  You can stand to honor the good while still acknowledging the flaws.

Warriors like Jose, a person of color who was born and raised in Compton, understands exactly what you’re talking about.  He has seen the flaws; the racial divide; the less than fair treatment from select police officers.  Yet, he saw the good in a country that offers vast opportunity and, despite its flaws, strives to do better.

That’s worth standing for.

If you really want to see a positive change, go do something positive.  Holding disdain for the flag/anthem is missing the mark.

- Ryan Sawtelle, Executive Director

*UPDATE: In his press conference after his last preseason game, Colin spoke to taking an active role in charities regarding this issue including donating his first $1 million - presumably to these organizations.