Mike Preston: Kaepernick went about his protest the wrong way

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a right to protest, but I think he should have chosen another platform.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a right to protest, but I think he should have chosen another platform.

Instead of not standing for the national anthem before Friday's preseason game, maybe he should have just held a press conference at another time. Then he could have addressed in detail his concerns for African Americans and other people of color that he thought were being oppressed in this county.


"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 Network 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."

If he really wanted to impress me, he should have announced that he was contributing some of his $12 million salary to help alleviate those concerns, and challenged some of the other QBs in the NFL to do the same.

Instead, he has become more of the story than his beliefs. Now people want to know if he took a stand for attention or if it was because his career might end soon.

I have my own questions. Is Kaepernick protesting because he is the No. 2 QB and wants out of San Francisco? Why didn't he have similar protests in 2011-12 when he was a quarterback for a Super Bowl team? It's not like this oppression started two or three years ago.

I have no problem with Kaepernick standing up for what he believes. I actually agree with him that African Americans and other people of color are oppressed in this country, and we see these social injustices every day. All you have to do is turn on the daily news.

But for all the things I dislike about this country, there are just so many other things that I love, including freedom of speech. Regardless of what happens here, this is still the best country in the world, the same country that allows Kaepernick to earn his living playing in the National Football League.

There are a lot of servicemen who died for that freedom, and that's what I remember often when I hear the national anthem. It's about principles and the foundation of this country. For all of its problems and social concerns, we still live in the greatest country.

I hope Kaepernick changes his mind and stands for the national anthem for now on. There are just so many other ways to voice your concern and have an impact instead of offending so many others.

Whenever I see or hear stories about racial discrimination that irritate me, I often question myself to see if I am doing something to make a difference. Sometimes you have to be direct and firm in your protests, but the first thought is always about handling the situation in a decent and honorable manner.

I've heard others say that Kaepernick should go play in Canada if he doesn't like it here, or move to some Middle Eastern country if he finds the United States so oppressive.

I won't go that far. That's absurd, too. Kaepernick has a platform and he used it. I just wished he used it in another manner instead of offending so many that his point might not have gotten lost.

He has become more of the story than those who were and are oppressed.