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Why I Kneel With Kaepernick, But Not the NFL

  via Flickr

Colin Kaepernick has been a hot topic in the media lately for starting great controversy in the White House because of his influence over some NFL players and coaches kneeling and interlocking arms during the National Anthem before each game. Even though Kaepernick started this quarrel during the 2016-2017 pre-season by simply sitting while the Anthem was sung, it has just now started a national trend that I believe is not for the same reasons that Kaepernick stands behind. via Euroweb

For one, Kaepernick on many occasions has given a clear reason behind why he felt it is personally inappropriate to for him to salute and stand for a song or a flag that does not represent many people of color in America. According to an article first posted on the NFL’s website, Kaepernick states that, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

This came after stories of police brutality on African Americans flushed the media that past summer. Victims such as Alton Sterling and Philando Castile all made headlines on a national level after each person was murdered in the hands of police authority. The police officers both involved in these cases were freed of all charges and claims against them, and even paid during the time of each investigation while on administrative leave. These cases caused huge outpour on social media because they were both recorded and plastered over almost every social media network, clearly showing the unnecessary force taken by the police officers in each situation. via Business Insider

Fast-forward a year later, Kaepernick is now out of a job and is no longer on any NFL roster due to his controversial reputation, though his impact on other players this football season has spread. In the first two weeks, more players, and even coaches and team owners, have kneeled or interlocked arms during the anthem than before. Where were these people when Kaepernick first initiated this protest?

After President Trump publicly made comments about NFL players protesting the National Anthem, this increase in players participating in the Anthem’s protest increased.   via Twitter

  via Twitter

More so, this protest has taken a turn because of Trump’s opinion. NFL players and coaches aren’t protesting for the same reasons Kaepernick stands for, but instead because of their dislike for Trump’s tweet.

After Kaepernick was basically blacklisted for the 2017-2018 season, players saw the impact of how detrimental it can be to use your platform to stand up for what you believe in. No one wanted to lose their contracts or have players on their team that caused controversy in the media, but once the most disapproved president in history makes a comment that they don’t like, it becomes a new trend.

Still, Kaepernick does not have a job and stands behinds his past actions, but coaches and team owners are now protesting with him instead of offering him a job. There are people of color who are still being slain in the streets by police brutality, but the NFL is blind to that because of their hate for Trump is more important.

The NFL isn’t kneeling because black lives matter; they are kneeling and interlocking arms because Trump’s opinion does matter, to them at least. Maybe the NFL should re-evaluate what they define as protesting in unity and should instead take a knee for the hundreds of POC’s killed by police each year.


Bri Hayes

George Mason University '20

Brianna "Bri" Hayes is a Community Health, pre-nursing student from Richmond, Virginia studying at George Mason University with a strong passion for editorial and journalistic writing. Brianna spent her whole high school career studying communications and media relations under a broad spectrum, including experience in journalism, public relations and marketing, videography, film and production, graphic design, and photography. At Mason, she’s the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and a member of various organizations including the Omicron Iota Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Patriot Activities Council, the Akoma Circle Mentoring Group, and Student Involvement. In her spare time, Brianna likes to read and explore new places and things. After graduation, she hopes to fulfill a career in nursing and public health.
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