By Carrie Muxlow
There has been a lot of political discussion on the topic of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem this past fall. Colin Kaepernick set off an increasing popular argument that in order to protest racial injustice, concerned citizens should kneel during the Anthem or refuse to take part in certain prideful traditions of Americans. While racial injustice is an important topic to acknowledge and work towards resolving, is kneeling during the Anthem the true remedy?
In August of 2016, Kaepernick began refusing to rise during the Anthem before NFL games. While no one seemed to notice his lack of participation, no one offered a reason behind his refusal. Generally, when one is protesting, one is sure to offer the reason for the protest. The fact that Kaepernick did not vocalize his protest, and no other players followed suit, leaves us to question his true motive.
In the 2017 pre-season, when questioned on his remaining on the bench during the Anthem, Kaepernick gave the reasoning of silent protest against police brutality. After this announcement, other players began following suit and media attention took over. This action begs to question whether the remaining seated during the Anthem protest began as an excuse to sit, or as a true protest for racial injustice.
If Kaepernick chose to not acknowledge the National Anthem because of the racist undertones, would this issue not have been brought up in previous years, or at least in 2016? Why wait until 2017 to bring up the topic? Is it because an excuse for sitting was needed and this is the public relations department politically correct response? Was this a compromise for Kaepernick to no longer sit, but kneel, and show some sort of affiliation to the Anthem rather than sit and completely ignore the tradition?
I believe much more is going on with this story than simply a protest. A protest did not occur until 2017, and this was after the 2016 season in which Kaepernick abstained. Much more is going on with this PR stunt than is being made known to the public. As responsible citizens, we need to look deeper into this story and the true origin of the ‘protest.’