Colin Kaepernick’s kneel during the National Anthem (or Star Spangled Banner) during his NFL football games is a statement against the injustice he sees in America. And even with the protests, (and some would argue riots), going on in Charlotte, North Carolina (1) over the past few days, Colin Kaepernick’s quiet kneel is the loudest protest in the country today.
Kaepernick said in an interview with The Guardian on Tuesday, “There’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism.” (2)
— Cynthia Zenteno (@ChicaNFL) September 21, 2016
Whether you agree with him or not, his kneel has grabbed headlines and the attention of the country. Imagine how different the narrative would be today, if last night in Charlotte the protesters who took to smashing windows had taken a knee–or pulled a Kaepernick–instead.
The nation is now watching how the NFL will handle his quiet expression of “speech.” Colin Kaepernick plays Quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Some athletes have chosen to join Kaepernick in kneeling during the anthem as part of a silent protest against racial injustice. Four of the Dolphins players kneeled on the September 11th game against the Seattle Seahawks.(3)
Time Magazine has put Colin Kaepernick on the cover of the upcoming October issue of Time Magazine. According to TMZ, a Time spokesperson said that Kaepernick grabbed the coveted cover because of the magazine’s goal to explore “the nationwide debate happening around national anthem protests.” (4)
Erin Dodson, Assistant Editor for ESPN’s TheUndefeated, (according to his Twitter profile), Tweeted a photo of the cover with the comment, “Colin Kaepernick covers the October issue of Time Magazine. A true American hero, fighting the good fight for the culture. #BlackLivesMatter”
— Aaron Dodson (@aardodson) September 22, 2016
While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, it does not protect free speech in the corporate setting. In Michael Dolgow’s “Where Free Speech Goes to Die: The Workplace” article, he says, “In America you can say pretty much whatever you want, wherever you want to say it. Unless, that is, you’re at work. Simply put, there is no First Amendment right to “free speech” in the workplace—potentially perilous for many employees in a polarized political year with a tight presidential race.” (5)
The Dolgow article was written in 2012, but it still rings true in today’s political climate. Whether or not the NFL, (Kaepernick’s place of work), will institute a policy that prevents such silent protests during the National Anthem remains to be seen.
From Sara Snider via Twitter:
— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) September 18, 2016
From Nicki Jhabvala via Twitter:
Von Miller: “I’m with Colin Kaepernick, Brandon Marshall, all those guys 100 percent.” pic.twitter.com/mi4Wu7WPmK
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 22, 2016
1. Ed Lavandera, Boris Sanchez and Steve Almasy. CNN. September 21, 2016. “One person shot during violent Charlotte protest; officer hurt.” Retrieved via http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/21/us/charlotte-police-shooting/index.html.
2. Tim Hill and agencies. September 21, 2016. The Guardian. “Colin Kaepernick on death threats: if I’m killed ‘you’ve proved my point.’” Retrieved via https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/sep/20/colin-kaepernick-death-threats-national-anthem-protest-nfl.
3. Associated Press. September 11, 2016. Fox News. “Dolphins players kneel during National Anthem, Seahawks lock arms.” Retrieved via http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2016/09/11/dolphins-players-kneel-during-national-anthem-seahawks-lock-arms.html.
4. TMZ Staff. September 22, 2016. TMZ.com. “Colin Kaepernick: He earned his way onto our cover…says Time Mag.” Retrieved via http://www.tmz.com/2016/09/22/colin-kaepernick-time-magazine-cover-49ers-nfl/.
5. Michael Dolgow. August 3, 2012. Bloomberg.com “Where Free Speech Goes to Die: The Workplace.” Retrieved via http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-08-03/where-free-speech-goes-to-die-the-workplace.