On August 2016, Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers made headlines for his protest of taking a knee. Kaepernick’s protest was influenced as a response to the racial inequality that people of color face in the United States today. Despite the protest being non-violent, he has received criticism from many conservative commentators like Tomi Lahren. The protests came up recently this year when President Trump addressed the issue at an Alabama rally by asking, “Wouldn’t’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!'” The statement led to many players taking a knee or joining their teammates in solidarity.
Throughout social media, people were split on the protests. Between supporting these protests and burning NFL memorabilia and tickets in effigies. And despite the criticism, these players holding this protest are in the right. It is a nonviolent way to get the message across; and the outrage is just another way to frame the right to protest as a negative thing to the public.
As mentioned earlier, the protest is entirely nonviolent. None of the players are throwing anything during the National Anthem nor shouting over the singer. They are taking a knee and simply happen to do it during that time. However, many critics of the protest have framed the narrative to portray the athletes who take a knee during the Anthem ingrates who take the sacrifices the military makes each day for granted. Despite the accusations, no one who’s engaged in this protest have never made a claim like that. This has been proven to be similar to claiming that sit-ins are protesting hallways and offices.
The backlash towards these protests is yet another case of taking a cause, and boiling it down to the means, while ignoring the goals. This was just one of the many cases happening in recent years, including the Black Lives Matter movement to be seen as anti-police to liberal college students called out as entitled “special snowflakes.” This is also juxtaposed when the same critics call out whenever the tension at protests today have escalated. The NFL protests are the perfect gift for those who claim to be against the civil disobedience for being “too forceful.”
John F. Kennedy once said that “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” And in that regard, many of these critics are proving to allow the same riots that they claim that protesters are engaging in today. The outrage is nothing more than a petty double standard that is trying to keep the status quo. And this should not be seen as much of a travesty, given that the average NFL lineup has the same moral purity as … an actual lineup.