Before the start of the 2016 NFL season, there was a buzz surrounding the league and it had nothing to do with what was happening on the actual football field. It had to do with a decision made by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The quarterback did not like how certain human rights issues across the country were being dealt with at the time, so he decided to take a stand. Well, technically not.
But during the 49ers’ first two preseason games of 2016, Kaepernick remained seated during the National Anthem while the rest of his teammates stood. It was not noticed until a picture was tweeted out of the San Francisco bench during the team’s third preseason game and then the uproar of negativity regarding the quarterback’s decision came in like a monsoon.
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) August 27, 2016
Social media and the talking heads of the sports world flooded the Internet and the airwaves with an abundance of opinions. Many were negative at first, but Kaepernick did his best to explain why he chose to remain seated during the anthem.
“This stand wasn’t for me. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and affect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.”
Some felt that his protest was a slap in the face to those men and women who have served in the United States military. So in an effort to still get his message across and also show his respect for the American troops, Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the anthem rather than just sit on the bench.
He continued to kneel during the anthem of multiple games and soon he was joined by teammates and other NFL players across the country. Even a member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team took a knee while the anthem was played before one of her games.
— ❤️NWSL⚽️ (@gbpackfan32) September 5, 2016
Soon high school football teams, college cheerleaders, and even WNBA players were taking part in the movement.
For Kaepernick, this was the exact purpose of his original protest. To raise awareness for the issues that he felt needed fixing and spread the message that things have to start changing.
While some may easily look past what the purpose of his pregame actions were and dislike the quarterback for doing something that they feel is disrespectful to the country, those who do fail to realize all the good that has come about since the beginning of his protest.
Not only has Kaepernick been able to donate thousands of dollars to multiple charities and organizations, but his actions have caused more people to discuss ways in which to fix some of the problems happening around the country today.
Thanks to Kaepernick, this current generation of athletes has seemed to develop their own voice. A voice that can be heard all over the world without even speaking.