A little known fact about the National Anthem is making Colin Kaepernick’s controversial protest even more valid than it already was.
The 49ers’ quarterback deciding not to stand for the signing of the National Anthem before a recent NFL preseason game in support of ending police brutality against African-Americans has ignited a large amount of discussion about whether or not his reasoning made sense or should be considered “unconstitutional.” Many have spoken out in support of Kaepernick, noting that his stance is indeed called for given the continued lack of action being taken by lawmakers, who have been slow to implement new legislation specifically geared towards an overhaul of the racially discriminatory policing system in the U.S.
In light of the conversation sparked by Kaepernick’s actions, CNN has shined a light on a little known fact about the history of the National Anthem. The news outlet recently took a deeper look into the additional lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner. When focusing specifically on the rarely-mentioned third verse of the song, the language used appears to openly celebrate the deaths of freed African-American slaves who fought with the British against the United States.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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It was also noted that Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics, was a slaver owner and anti-abolitionist who once referred to African-Americans as “a distinct and inferior race of people.” So not only does Colin Kaepernick’s anti-National Anthem stance make sense given present day problems with systemic racism, history also provides more than enough validation.