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Colin Kaepernick: Kneeling for Change


Athletes are models, inspirations, and idols. Their lives are under a microscope: wherever they go, whatever they do, and whatever they say will be critiqued in some form or fashion by the billions of people around the world. Athletes have the capability and the platform to spark a movement with their voice or actions. Many have spoken on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, but few are acting upon it.

Colin Kaepernick is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He was drafted by the 49ers in 2011 and is currently 28 years old. Despite being in his second year, Kaepernick started and led his team to the Super Bowl in 2012 and set some records. He continued his success and signed a $126 million contract over 6 years in 2014. However, after a coaching change and injury in 2015, he has never returned to his former glory.

On August 26th, 2016, Kaepernick shocked the world when he decided to take a seat during the habitual pre-game national anthem. He decided to take a seat at a time where athletes honor and acknowledge their country and the liberties granted to them.

In an interview with, Kaepernick said,

“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. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Initially, Kaepernick’s protest was met with major backlash and discontent. Donald Trump told him to “find a country that works better for him.” Former and current NFL players used the “all lives matter” argument. The Santa Clara police union threatened to stop providing security for 49ers games.

On September 1st, 2016, Kaepernick shifted to taking a knee during the national anthem. Now, support for Kaepernick is growing. Others are also showing support: The US soccer star Megan Rapinoe took a knee, reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry applauded him for taking a stand, and on 9/11, entire NFL teams planned protests during the national anthem. Veterans are supporting his cause by hashtagging #VeteransForKaepernick on twitter. President Barack Obama showed support for Kaepernick by stating that the 49er is only “exercising his constitutional right”.

Not only is Kaepernick supported by the aforementioned celebrities, but he is also gaining widespread support from his fans. According to USA Today, his jersey is now the #1 sold jersey in the NFL, and rightfully so.

He is the one athlete that is actually making a difference in the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Frankly, it’s a joke that people are considering his act disrespectful to their country and the flag. Yes, the flag is a symbol to the American people, but these Americans have succumbed to hypernationalism and fail to see and fix the racial inequality that exists.

There are those who think that there is a better way to advocate for racial equality – but here’s the thing: athletes have spoken out on this issue and after a few days, their words would be forgotten. With their influence, athletes should be able to alter and change society for the better and Kaepernick has done just that. Whether his actions are liked or disliked, they have sparked a long lasting worldwide debate and discussion on racial equality. America is flawed, and athletes are rightfully joining his demonstration and many more will. It is about time people are addressing that fact and by simply sitting down (or taking a knee), Kaepernick has finally revamped the conversation for change.

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