Unless you have been under a rock for the past month, you have probably heard about Colin Kaepernick protesting during the national anthem. There has been so much news and commentating on the subject that I wanted to wait and let everything marinate in my head before delivering my own thoughts.
After hearing the news on Terence Crutcher, and watching the difficult video, I felt even more compelled to speak on Colin and how we as a nation have reacted to his protest. As a black man growing up during this social turmoil, I personally understand why Colin is protesting the way he is. But I also believe the way he has gone about it is wrong.
The reason I say this is because his message has been blinded by the idea that he is disrespecting our military. In a way, his protest has backfired. People who do not understand his message are not looking at the substance of his protest, but are instead looking at the action itself. Until we can get those who have not had the historical experience with police that people of color have had to at least understand the meaning of Colin’s protest, we cannot truly get the conversation started.
A little while back I wrote an article on athletes as activists and where the line should be drawn. As I said in that article, I would like to see more athletes be more vocal about issues, but I do not expect them to be active. I love the news and attention that Colin has garnered, especially because many of his peers around the league have shown their support and protested in similar ways. His actions have not only spread to other players in the NFL, but also across other sports. For example, United States Women’s National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe has shown her support for Colin by kneeling during the anthem before her games.
Since the summer, more players have slowly come out to voice their opinions on social issues. Whether or not that is because they see their peers standing up or the social unrest has hit a breaking point for them, we are seeing more athletes utilize their platform for something that is bigger than any sport. This growing activism in sports is getting the conversation started and this is only the beginning.