The Kaepernick Effect on the NFL

Who knew Colin Kaepernick’s small gesture of a protest would start a domino effect among the NFL.

During the NFL preseason, Kaepernick started to sit during the National Anthems before games. For a split moment it went unnoticed, but then people wanted answers and he gave it to them.

“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.”

“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.”

“It’s something that can unify this team. It’s something that can unify this country. If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people. If we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from.”

“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.”

Of course, following any protest comes criticism. Conversations swirled that Kaepernick was disrespectful, he should be a team player, and show his support for the cause in a different way. However, there are a few issues with this.

First off, as Americans we have the right to choose. We have the right to choose to support any cause we want. As ironic as it may seem, Kaepernick protesting is exactly what being an American is about. Secondly, being part of a team sometimes means being able to lead by making tough decisions. Standing up for something, especially when it seems you are alone is never easy. Having the courage to still do it is what makes a leader, which is why so many players and even teams have followed his lead. Jeremy Lane of the Seahawks and Brandon Marshall of the Broncos are just a few who have also started to sit out of the anthem. Organizations like the Miami Dolphins have also started to show support for their players’ choices.

If Kaepernick simply donated money (which he has committed to do) would it have had this much of an impact? Would it have started so many tough conversations and bring attention to a epidemic in our country? Would other players have started to show their support? Probably, not. Kaepernick is using his platform to bring attention to a cause he feels passionately about. By doing so, it has led to a movement within the NFL. And it takes a movement to stir change.

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