NPR

Colin Kaepernick: Just Do It

Colin Kaepernick has been a lightning rod for racial injustice in the NFL.

October 9, 2018

Colin Kaepernick, a former quarterback from the San Francisco 49ers, wanted to speak his mind and make himself heard.

He sought to stand up against racial injustice and police brutality during the 2016-2017 season. Kaepernick wanted to make his voice heard to not only the NFL, but the entire nation. He would kneel during the singing of the national anthem before kickoff. In doing this, Kaepernick knew that it would be a life-changing experience.

After that season, he has yet to play a single game in the NFL. Teams decided that they did not want him because he spoke about his beliefs. He said he will sue the NFL for not giving him a chance, all because he took a knee during the national anthem. This led to millions of people all across the nation to react in two ways; either to support Kaepernick and what he is standing up for or to disagree with Kaepernick and go against everything that he is protesting about. Even the President didn’t like what Kaepernick was doing.  

The buzz around the nation on this topic was huge. Everybody was talking about [how they are supporting what Kaepernick is standing up for or completely outraged. As a team, the Pittsburgh Steelers did not come to an agreement to kneel or stand, so they stayed in the locker room, except for Alejandro Villanueva who served three tours of duty as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, before playing in the National Football League. Multiple other teams took knees together, including the entire Oakland Raiders team. Throughout the 2016-2017 NFL season, many people were questioning whether or not players should be suspended for kneeling during the national anthem.

President Trump spoke his opinions on the topic by saying that anyone who kneels in protest of the flag during the anthem should be fired immediately. A lot of tension was building up during the season. Malcolm Jenkins, a cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles, did not take a knee but went a different way by raising his fist in the air. In the 2017-2018 NFL season, two big receivers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, took a knee during the anthem.

Also, a number of players for the New Orleans Saints chose to sit instead of standing or kneeling. Those players were Rafael Bush, Kenny Vaccaro, Chris Banjo, Sheldon Rankins, Alex Okafor, Cameron Jordan, Adrian Peterson, Alvin Kamara, Brandon Coleman and Mark Ingram. They all sat on the bench, while Thomas Morstead, Marshon Lattimore, Craig Robertson, and Coby Fleener stood with hands on their teammates’ shoulders.

This topic has been in the public eye for the past year in a half, and it seems to be hurting the NFL more than the players. The average viewership, according to Business Insider has declined by over 1.5 million over the last year. This then led to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to hold a meeting with all the owners in league. They came to a conclusion that every player must stand for the Anthem, and if they don’t, they will be fined.

The average NFL game was viewed by 16.5 million people last year, but this year it dropped to 14.9 million on average. Just days before the opening game of the season, Eagles vs. Falcons, Nike released a commercial starring Kaepernick for the thirty-year anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan.  As soon as word was out that he was apart of the ad, people across the world boycotted Nike and all of its products. After the first day of the ad being released, Nike had lost 4 billion dollars in revenue.

Many people across the world were very upset and confused of why Kaepernick was chosen to be the face of the ad. In the first NFL game of the season, the Eagles and Falcons game had a viewership low in nine years, dropping 13% from last seasons opening game. Nike has profited $6 billion since its Kaepernick ad.

 

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