Colin Kaepernick is one of the most influential athletes of our generation; and he hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016-17 season. Kaepernick made national headlines when he took a knee during the national anthem in a preseason game in 2016. Since then, players all around the league have joined him with groups of players dropping to one knee during the anthem.
One huge misconception of the kneelings are that they are to disrespect our soldiers and the founding fathers, but this is not the case. Kaepernick, along with many other athletes, have explained that it is to stand up for minorities in the United States and how they are treated unfairly. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color", Kaepernick explained in a statement to the NFL media.
Due to the outbreak of kneeling this past season, the NFL and the team owners have come to an agreement on the kneeling situation. The new rule in place for the 2018-19 season is that players who are on the field must stand for the anthem, and if they do not wish to stand they can remain in the locker room until the ceremony is over. The consequences for not complying to the rules result in a fine to the player or team.
As of recently, Kaepernick has ignited the flames of the media once more as he is the new face of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign with the slogan, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything”. The same day this tweet went out Nike customers started burning products they purchased as part of a protest and some are starting a Nike boycott.
Nike had been paying Kaepernick millions every year as a part of a contract he signed with them back in 2011 and Nike was waiting for the perfect time to use him. Along with the publicity of the campaign, Kaepernick is suing the NFL for collusion, meaning how the NFL and its team owners kept him off a roster because of his protests and for the backlash he received.
Going forward in the new Nike campaign, they will release Kaepernick apparel and shoes, which is sure to create even more controversy in the near future.
With the hate Kaepernick is receiving from his angry dissenters, including Donald Trump, many current and former athletes are showing their support of Kaepernick on Twitter. For example, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills sparked the hashtag “#ImWithKap,” and it has blown up.
Kaepernick, through the years, has been the inspiration for civil rights activists and groups. His actions sparked the United We Stand Rally For Colin Kaepernick on August 23 of last year. Groups such as the NAACP and Women’s March were in attendance for the rally.
Time can only tell for when Kaepernick’s next move is that will spark controversy nationwide once more as he stands for what he believes in, of course, even if that means sacrificing everything.