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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh defends 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s right to free speech

Coach Harbaugh Fields Questions

Most of you have heard the situation by now with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick deciding to sit down during the national anthem this past Friday as the 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers.

Kaepernick’s motive for sitting down was due to the systematic oppression that exists in our society as he discussed below via NFL.com.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

"This is not something that I am going to run by anybody," Kaepernick continued. "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."

Kaepernick’s decision to sit down during the national anthem (and will continue to do so until things change as he puts it) has received a lot of backlash beyond the world of sports. Kaepernick’s comments and decisions have been a hot topic of discussion over the last few days across the country from people saying that he doesn’t have a right to do what he did or that he should have went about it a different way.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke out today and said that he defends Kaepernick’s right to free speech.

“Voltaire so eloquently stated, ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend it until death your right to say it,'” Ravens coach John Harbaugh noted via ESPN.com. “That’s a principle that our country is founded on. I don’t think you cannot deny someone the right to speak out or mock or make fun or belittle anybody else’s opinion.”

Voltaire (1694-1778) who Harbaugh is referring to is was a French Enlightenment writer, philosopher and a historian. Harbaugh quoting Voltaire is not only very profound, but on this very topic Harbaugh is right.

You may not like what someone has to say, but you can’t deny them their right to free speech in the United States. Taking note of the backlash towards Kaepernick over the weekend, I was reading some of the comments over social media with some telling Kaepernick to get out of the United States if he doesn’t like the way things are which is a pretty flawed statement to make if you ask me.

Right now, we have a man by the name of Donald Trump who is running for president of the United States and his slogan is, “Make America great again.” When Trump says, “Make America great again” he is implying that the United States isn’t great right now. There’s no sugarcoating that and he has been on record saying that President Obama is one of the worst presidents ever in the history of the United States.

Since Trump doesn’t think the United States is great right now, should he leave with Kaepernick too? Or is it OK for Trump to stay?

There are people out here who don’t like the fact that President Obama is in the position he is in right now due to his skin color. Should those hateful people get out of the United States too? Just wondering.

People have a right to protest and voice their opinion whether you agree with them or not. And in Kaepernick’s case, he wasn’t being violent in any way shape or form. Sometimes, we see others create violence during social issues from time to time and they get criticized by others. People question the violence and request for a peaceful protest instead.

Well, Kaepernick’s stance was peaceful and some people don’t even want him reacting that way. Some say he should have went about it a different way. So which one is it? It seems like some people don’t really care and would never listen anyway because their mind is already made up.

A legitimate protest of any kind will have people divided. A protest where the vast majority agree is not a real protest. It just isn’t. Protests are normal and differing opinions are a part of life.

Again, you don’t have to like what Kaepernick said, but he shouldn’t be requested to leave the country for voicing his own opinion.