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 effect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t. – Colin Kaepernick
Racial protests within sports have occurred as early as 1968. 49 years later, minorities continue to face racial inequality and injustices due to skin color.
Sports professionals have a powerful platform with many viewers. With their popularity and easy reach to over 200 million Americans, any small gesture or movement can influence and inform. Colin Kaepernick used this to his advantage. On August 28, 2016, Kaepernick explained why he sat during the national anthem 2 days prior to. He sat to protest the oppression of people of color and the ongoing issues with police brutality. Kaepernick was ridiculed by the media and conservative viewers who believed that he disrespected America’s values. 1 year later, more NFL players join in solidarity by kneeling, staying in their locker rooms or linking arms with other teammates. These forms of protest are usually avoided due to fear of losing endorsements and advertisements. The ignorant remarks made by 45ignited the flame of empathy from the athletes causing a pattern of protests throughout the NFL world.
70% of NFL players are black men. The fear of losing money was placed before any form of empathy for working-class minorities who are more susceptible to police brutality and racial inequities. Due to the timing, Trump’s comments will out-shadow the protests. Instead of focusing on the original message, the protests are now solely associated with the national anthem. An anthem that was written by Francis Scott Key, a slave owner.