America’s long history of institutional racism is slowly starting to catch up with it. It is a conversation in America long overdue.

Some might say the political movement, Black Lives Matter, sparked this conversation in reaction to police violence in America. Others point to the current climate in our political debates, where our political elites toss around racial insults like loose napkins, as a catalyst for question.

Protesters take to the streets to bring attention to the push for justice in the Trayvon Martin case as they take over Rodeo Drive on July 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jose Lopez)

Protesters take to the streets to bring attention to the push for justice in the Trayvon Martin case as they take over Rodeo Drive on July 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jose Lopez)

Either way, people are waking up in America. Some celebrities are showing angst and support to speak out against institutional racism among minority groups in America.

Most recently, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James spoke out at the ESPY Awards to express our need to address racial tensions in America after the ambush and muder of five Texas police officers.

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This conversation is now making its way into the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem. His protest comes from his beliefs of racial injustices against Black American and minorities in the United States.

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Colin Kaepernick says:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. Bodies lie in the street, and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Niners coach Chip Kelly told reporters Saturday that Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the national anthem is

“his right as a citizen” and said “it’s not my right to tell him not to do something.”

The NFL also released a statement, obtained by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport:

“Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”

Kaepernick says he is fully aware of his actions and knows they won’t sit well with some people, including 49ers fans.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. 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.”

No one determined the outcome of Kaepernick’s actions, but hopefully his protest bring forth understand and change, as opposed to more hate and contempt.