At the age of 28, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in protest during the American National Anthem four years ago, to stand against police brutality and racial oppression after killing of a black man by police, cost him his entire NFL career. And his inability to get back into the NFL since the 2016 season. This seemingly peaceful and straightforward act sparked unyielding controversy, even outrage across the athletic, social and political arenas.
Kaepernick is considered a leader, especially when he stood up to support black lives by condemning police brutality against black people resulting in death, at a time when there was no one celebrating and acknowledging it. And he suffered by doing so in many ways by being blackballed, lost professional opportunities, harassments, racial slurs, and even death threats.
He still led the way no matter what obstacles came on his way, and due in large part to his leadership and that of many others, the NFL has done 180 and announced that it would follow Kaepernick’s lead and Condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people.
Today, Kaepernick is compared to such greats as Muhammad Ali, splashed on the covers of GQ, and has been named Time’s Person of the Year. Also, he is celebrated as a civil rights advocate and even a hero.
Colin Kaepernick will be remembered in the history books as a leader, a civil rights advocate, a proponent of social justice, and an opponent of police brutality. Long after his detractors, those who tried to destroy his image and reputation threatened him and tried to shame him for kneeling.
He just wanted to become a successful NFL player, and he succeeded and enjoyed a highly regarded career. However, after several years in the league, something welled up inside him that compelled him to start speaking out against police brutality through social media, by remaining seated, and by taking a knee during the national anthem.
Commissioner Roger Goodell’s public statement showed the NFL wants to be on the right side of history. He wants his career and legacy to land on the right side of history as well. Nearly four years ago, when Kaepernick first led the way, three years after his career was effectively sidelined and 11 days after national and global protests started in response to the death of George Floyd by police.
Roger Goodell, through a statement, highlighted that black lives matter and admitted that the NFL was wrong not to listen to NFL players earlier, and he encouraged all to speak out and protest peacefully.
Although he didn’t mention Kaepernick, he insisted that there won’t be league without black players and promised lender his ears to listen to players by reaching out to those who have raised their voices to improve and go forward for a better and a more united NFL.
And he declared that he would be protesting and wanted to be part of the much-needed change in the country.
Lena Wood graduated from John Carroll University in the year 2002. She born and grown up in Dallas but later she moved to Cleveland for Studying. Lena has written for several major publications including Community Newspapers and News Desk. Lena is a community Reporter and also Covers National Topics.