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San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is vowing to sit during the national anthem in protest over police killings of African-Americans. Is he being anti-American by expressing his right to protest which is covered under the First Amendment of the Constitution?

According to the backlash Kaepernick is experiencing, it would seem as though free speech is not welcomed when standing up against injustice for certain demographics and certain issues.

Before delving into the controversy surrounding the football star, Dr. Jason Johnson gave the NewsOne Now audience a little historical context about the Star-Spangled Banner that many may not know.

In The Root, Dr. Johnson said: The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key, because he was bitter about the fact that he had lost to a group of Black soldiers and then those same Black soldiers were coming in and trashing Baltimore on behalf of the British.”

Johnson continued, “The British had offered runaway slaves — if you come and fight for us against the country that enslaved and oppressed you, we will give you your freedom.”

The whole song, in essence, according to Johnson, “is basically a diss track about a bitter, rich, pro-slavery White man saying ‘I don’t like that Black people are coming for freedom.'”

As a result of this historical fact, Dr. Johnson opined in his column on TheRoot.com, “Kaepernick is absolutely right and should be applauded” for his protest action.

NewsOne Now panelist Spencer Overton, the president for the Joint Center of Political Economic Studies, said, “Consciousness is essential in terms of athletes — there’s so many people getting a free ride and they’re just kind of disconnected from folks, so I applaud him just in terms of standing up, in terms of consciousness, and I think we need to encourage other athletes and actors to take [a] similar informed stance.”

Interestingly enough, the nation just celebrated the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali, who took a stand against the treatment of Blacks in America and refused to fight in the Vietnam War. Ali famously proclaimed in 1966,Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.

Carmen Berkley, civil, human and women’s rights director of the AFL-CIO, said, “People only love Black people who are making them money, they do not love Black people when we’re being honest about our condition in the United States.”

She also stated, “Just last week Ryan Lochte was being a complete fool — completely un-American in Brazil, but White America is defending him.”

Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the singing of the national anthem in the video clip above.

SOURCE: The Root | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty 

Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

SEE ALSO:

Colin Kaepernick Speaks Out About National Anthem Protest

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