by G. Brown,
What’s the cost of standing up for what you believe in? Colin Kaepernick knows. Even though he was twice named Western Athletic Offensive Player of the Year during his days at the University of Nevada, MVP of 2008 Humanitarian Bowl and a quarterback with the 49ers since 2011, Kaepernick didn’t become a household name until last year. It wasn’t his moves on the field of play that got him noticed, but his move of protest that did.
The first time Kaepernick decided to sit in protest during the National Anthem, few noticed…that was August 14 of last year. A week or so later when he repeated his protest, someone tweeted the photo of Kaepernick sitting during the anthem and rumblings began.
By August 28th, Kaepernick was a national headline and he explained, “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.” Shortly after, Kaepernick decided to no longer sit, but to kneel on one knee while the anthem was played. By September, Kaepernick was the scourge of the game to some, berated on social media and in the media by opposition who called him “unpatriotic”, “treasonous” and worse. But Kaepernick was also an inspiration to others and not just in the NFL. Other pro sports players joined the protest. Even college players and high school players were kneeling in support of his cause and of Kaepernick. At Howard University in D.C., the cheerleaders even bent a knee in protest.
Kaepernick had started something that caught fire. Pro players like Iman Shumpert announced he would raise money for families impacted by police violence and fatalities. Kaepernick was featured on the cover of Time magazine. But when the season ended, did Kaepernick’s NFL career end as well.
As a free agent, the protest that made him a national sensation is making head coaches nervous. Instead of weighing Kaepernick on his undeniable skill and ability, coaches are worried about how fans will react to the quarterback who launched a national protest against racial injustice. It’s sad that the very thing Kaepernick was protesting is seemingly claiming him as its latest victim. Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh is certain Kaepernick will be signed saying, “He’s too good a player. Someone’s going to sign him and he’ll play in this league probably for a long time.” Of course, Harbaugh didn’t sign him. And the league doesn’t want people using the term “blackballed” because it gives the NFL a black eye.
All this makes you wonder, why no one is protesting for Kaepernick…fighting back on his behalf to make sure he’s signed. All those people he inspired are as silent as football stadiums in this off season period. Interesting that a few pro athletes have been caught on video beating women in elevators, some have been proven to have drug problems, marital infidelity issues and a gamut of other problems but they are still in the game. The man who stood for a cause, to fight for people who didn’t have a voice while he was belittled for taking such a stand could be sidelined? If that happens, it’s proof that justice is in America is just a dream.