In an August 2016 NFL preseason, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the US Anthem. Later in an interview, Kaepernick explained that in this way, he protested against a series of cases of unmotivated shooting at unarmed detained black people (Colin Kaepernick timeline, 2018). The quarterback said that he could not ignore the attitude that exists in the country towards black people and people of color. Subsequently, Colin Kaepernick began to get on one knee during the hymn to show respect for the anthem and the military. This paper aims to present arguments regarding why Kaepernick’s protest was highly motivated.
I agree with Kaepernick’s protest since, as a citizen of the United States, he has the right to freedom of speech and expression. Therefore, following the country’s fundamental law, attacks and death threats that followed the athlete’s protest are illegal, unethical, and immoral (First Amendment, n.d.). Kaepernick drew public attention to unacceptable events, putting his reputation at stake. His protest caused a public outcry, which later grew into the Black Lives Matter movement; however, it struck Colin’s job. Kaepernick has put the public interest ahead of his personal, and this should be highly respected.
Noteworthy, after the athlete received death threats, many NFL players supported him, so getting on one knee during the US anthem became a tradition among athletes of all races. Unfortunately, many Americans who did not hear Kaepernick’s interview and did not bother to inquire about the reason for his behavior perceived the protest as merely a challenge to American society. This wave of hatred was fueled by President Trump, who spoke out in support of NFL leaders who stopped sending invitations to Kaepernick to participate in matches. Trump also used foul language against the quarterback and said that Kaepernick should be “fired” (Athletes defend NFL protests, 2017). Subsequently, Trump’s press secretary had to apologize and explain that the President “is not against something, but for something.”
In 2017 the NFL introduced a prescription saying that players who do not want to stand on the field during the anthem can stay in the locker room during this time. As did his followers, Kaepernick refused to comply with the order because it violated the rights to freedom of speech and expression, as prescribed in the First Amendment. In 2018, Kaepernick became the face of Nike’s ad campaign after he posted, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” (Colin Kaepernick timeline, 2018). However, it is unlikely that the footballer could earn from an advertising campaign amounts comparable to those that he lost due to the NFL’s reaction to his protest.
Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, tried to reason with the Americans, who did not understand Kaepernick’s protest, reminding everyone that the athlete was exercising his constitutional rights and defended his civil position. Barack Obama noted that he considers democracy to be the best way of state structure since the basis of a democratic society is respect for the views and opinions of its citizens (Obama discusses Kaepernick’s anthem protest, 2016). However, this did not help Colin Kaepernick regain his reputation since the NFL leaders were too afraid of the majority opinion. It is hoped that the BLM movement has brought about a greater public awareness of police brutality and that many US citizens have changed their attitude towards the protest as a result.
Thus, arguments regarding why Kaepernick’s protest was highly motivated were presented. Colin Kaepernick staked his career and reputation to bring attention to a series of police shootings of unarmed black people who were not doing anything illegal. His protest caused a national outcry, with many of Colin’s colleagues supporting him. However, the athlete received a barrage of criticism, including death threats, NFL condemnation, and foul insults from President Trump.
First Amendment. (n.d.). Web.
Obama discusses Kaepernick’s anthem protest (2016). Web.