The Face of the Anthem Protests

Witz, Billy. “This Time, Colin Kaepernick Takes a Stand by Kneeling.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Sept. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/sports/football/colin-kaepernick-kneels-national-anthem-protest.html.

     In this article from the New York Times (secondary source), Witz shows us two contrasting reactions that have arisen from the National Anthem protests. The protests were started by Colin Kaepernick in August of 2016, and because he is the starter of the protests, Kaepernick is looked at as the face of the protests. Now one of the reactions that we have seen has been a very positive one. As Witz says in the article, one fan went as far as to say "you're the voice for us". On the other hand, there have been fans of the NFL that have been outraged over Kaepernick's protests. For example, Les and Jackie Cohen felt passionate about it enough to drive two hours to see Kaepernick's game and "tell him he's fired".

     I'm using this source to look into both sides of this topic. It is relevant because it's important to consider both points of view when discussing controversial topics such as this. I will also discuss the following questions; Is Kaepernick really the voice for the people? Should he be fired for disrespecting the U.S. flag?

 

Chalabi, Mona. “Three Leagues, 92 Teams And One Black Principal Owner.” FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, 28 Apr. 2014, fivethirtyeight.com/features/diversity-in-the-nba-the-nfl-and-mlb/.

     I am using this article from FiveThirtyEight which is owned by ESPN, to show statistics that could lead to racial bias in sports. This is a secondary source as they acquired their data from The Institute For Diversity And Ethics In Sport. This article breaks down the race of the players, head coaches, majority owners and office staff in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. For my episode purposes, I will only be discussing the data compiled for the NFL. As of October 2013, 30% of players, 88% of head coaches, and 97% of majority owners in the NFL are white. To contrast, 66% of players, 9% of coaches, and 0% of majority owners are black.

     To relate this to my episode, I'll be discussing how racial bias could be one of the reasons why Kaepernick is still left un-employed. This is very relevant as Kaepernick was standing up for the oppression of people of colour in America, something that none of the NFL owners have ever had to deal with.

Episode Pitch - transcript

My episode will be responding to the article Colin Kaepernick in Unemployed. Is it because of his arm or his knee? Written by Victor Martinez. This article dives into the real reasons behind why Kaepernick remains unemployed. Kaepernick made national news when he decided to sit for the National Anthem during the 2016 season. In the first press conference he did after the story broke, Kaepernick said “When the flag represents what its supposed to represent for everyone in this country, I’ll stand”.

Now, it’s over a year later, Kaepernick has stated multiple times that he is looking for a team to sign him, but nobody’s come knocking. One can only wonder why. Kaepernick has had an amazing 6-year career and is only 30 years old. He’s been to a super bowl, recently, has an above average adjusted yards per pass at 7.2, along with the fifth best touchdown to interception ratio of all time. Super Bowl quarterbacks don’t just come out of nowhere, and if players were signed based on pure football ability and nothing else, Kaepernick would have been signed the day he left San Francisco.

Now Kaepernick is obviously impacted here, but he isn’t the only one. By keeping Kaepernick out of the NFL it sends a message to other players, across all other leagues. Now athletes will think twice before standing up for something they believe in. Now, the worst part about this is that Kaepernick wasn’t even doing anything wrong. He was exercising his first amendment right to show support for people of colour in America, also there aren’t any rules in place in the NFL that states players must stand for the Anthem.

This topic pertains to the NFL, professional sports leagues in general and the US. Many powerful people in the US have spoken out and sided with or against Kaepernick, most notably being Trump, the current president, who believes Kaepernick deserves to be fired for using his first amendment rights.

Now there are around 1700 players in the NFL, countless criminals, domestic abusers and drug addicts still have spots on NFL rosters. However, someone who legally took a stand for a cause he believes in, finds himself excluded.

 

 

Elder, Larry. “No, Colin Kaepernick Is No Muhammad Ali.” RealClearPolitics, www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/11/16/no_colin_kaepernick_is_no_muhammad_ali_135556.html

This article from RealClearPolitics begins by Elder discussing Kaepernick's award from GQ, being named 2017's Citizen of the Year. Elder infers that Kaepernick did not deserve that award, and that he doesn't deserve to be compared to the likes of Muhammad Ali. Then Elder goes on to describe the actions taken by Kaepernick and by Ali, during their separate protests. Then the article goes on to say that Kaepernick can not be compared to Ali, because he didn't sacrifice anything with his protest. The article then ends with saying that Kaepernick's protest was 'bogus" and only helped create unnecessary tension between the black community and the police.

I will be using this article among others, to represent the other side of my argument. As I will be listing my reasons for why Kaepernick is being blackballed, and still deserves to be in the NFL. This source will be very relevant for my podcast, as there are many people out there who believe that Kaepernick's protest is not significant. I will be looking for more articles like this one, that I can use as the other side to my argument.