A protest is defined as “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.”To accurately understand the Colin Kaepernick story one must understand exactly what Kaepernick was trying to accomplish when he first refused to stand during the National Anthem on August 26th.
Many media outlets accused him of one or two things… 1) Trying to keep the struggling quarterbacks name relevant or 2) simply disrespecting the country as a whole by not standing during the Anthem.
Later Kaepernick met with the media and shed some light on his real intentions with his silent protest saying, “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
America has come along way since Dr. King’s famous “I have a Dream” speech but we still have such a long way to go. This is what Kaepernick is trying to get Americans to discuss, but instead the narrative surrounding the story has shifted from lack of respect for the American flag to a lack of respect for the first responders on 9/11.
The protest has been at the forefront of both sports media and National media for weeks now and out of all the directions the story has gone the least talked about narrative has been Kaepernick’s main objective: Social Injustice. One must wonder why police brutality and equality among people of all walks of life keeps getting pushed to the back burner when the man who started this most recent protest has said that social injustice is what needs to be discussed.
Since the Ferguson riots in 2014 there have been numerous protests throughout the country trying to provoke change in America, but that narrative only lasts a few days until the next time racism is an issue. I believe that Kaepernick is trying to provoke conversation but I also believe his narrative is being lost in the hot takes society love.Does this mean that Kaepernick’s protest is unsuccessful? Or does it simply mean that it needs more time? Below is a list of players who have joined Kaepernick in protesting social injustice during the National Anthem:
|Preseason Week 3||Preseason Week 4||Week 1|
|Colin Kaepernick||● Eric Reid
● Colin Kaepernick
● Jeremy Lane
|● Brandon Marshall
● Miami Dolphins
○ Kenny Stills
○ Michael Thomas
○ Arian Foster
○ Jelani Jenkins
● Seattle Seahawks locked arms
● Kansas City Chiefs locked arms
○ Marcus Peters also raised his fist
● Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty both raised a fist
● Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick
● Eli Harold and Antoine Bethea each raised their fist
● Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt also raised their fist
The growing number of players across the NFL joining Kaepernick in protesting social injustice has to be a positive sign, even for those who are against the platform players are choosing to use. Arian Foster tweeted something addressing that following Sunday’s game in Seattle.
don't put your hatred in our hearts. I love this country. don't let the love for a symbol overrule the love for your fellow human.
— Feeno (@ArianFoster) September 12, 2016
While many are fed up with this story, I find it extremely fascinating that society has chose to misdirect the message being portrayed by these athletes, rather than embracing the message and encouraging change in America.
This story has a very real way of sparking conversations amongst individuals and regardless of where you stand your opinion isn’t wrong. Americans are raised that the National Anthem and the American Flag are the two strongest symbols of America, which leads to the many differing opinions on the matter.
Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles spoke on this telling the USA Today, “Look, I know a lot of people who don’t even know the words to the national anthem. You know how many times I see people stand up for the national anthem and not pay attention. They stand because they’re told to stand. That’s the problem. Just don’t do something because you’re told to do something. Do it because you understand the meaning behind it and the sacrifice behind it.”
At the end of the day, if you don’t respect his freedoms, then why the hell are we Americans? It’s supposed to be the Land of the Free, right?
Celebrities and athletes have long tried to invoke social change. However these efforts are ultimately only successful for a short period of time until the next big thing comes along.
But as TuPac once said “We gotta make a change. It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live and let’s change the way we treat each other. You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we gotta do, to survive.”