Note: The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent The K.I.N.G. Movement or its supporters. They are the views of the author alone.

When I first saw NFL QB Colin Kaepernick kneel during the National Anthem in protest, I became angry.

How dare he disrespect the flag.

Doesn't he realize the freedom we have comes from people who died for this country? The flag represents something bigger. Why kneel and disrespect it?

I talked with many people about what he did and the majority agreed with my original opinion: Stand up during the National Anthem.

Working in the industry I do, I saw and read a lot of opinions on this topic, and it sparked an uproar on both sides of the issue. I saw people dividing instead of coming together. I saw many people on social media, myself included, wanting this story to just go away.

Can't we just talk about sports?

But then something happened. I stopped trying to have an opinion and instead, I started to try and listen.

When I began to use my ears and not my mouth, I heard and saw a lot of anger. Real anger.

I started to look at the issue that Kaepernick was protesting instead of the method he was using and realized there is a very large racism problem that still exists in our society today.

I'm a 40 year-old White guy. For the most part, I've never experienced any prejudice or oppression in my life. Who am I to judge another person on something I've never experienced?

People are dying simply because of the color of their skin. That's something that I shouldn't be typing in 2016.

My opinion of this has changed.

I think Kaepernick initiated a conversation that needs to be had. We need to be talking about this and looking at solutions for the racism that still exists and the killings that continue to take place.

People fought and died for our freedoms and that freedom allows all of us to protest in whatever way we choose. But let's get past the way in which he's choosing to protest for a minute and seek to try and understand the issue he's actually looking to bring awareness to.

I stand with my fellow African-American brothers and sisters who are tired of being treated differently. I stand with them as we all try to bring peace and hope to a country that desperately needs it right now.

Healthy disagreements are ok. Let's lock arms and come together instead of crushing others because we disagree with them.

And most of all, above everything else, let's point people to Christ because hope is found in Him and Him alone.

Change can only take place when there is a transformation of the heart.

Heart transformation starts and ends at the cross.


Jason Romano is a Senior Manager for Social Media at ESPN. He's a loving husband and father who teaches and speaks regularly at his church in Connecticut.

 

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