So by now everyone is aware about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the National Anthem to protest the social injustices happening in the world. By now a lot of players around the National Football League have joined in the protesting during the anthem, including a the Seattle Seahawks and Chiefs who linked arms. And since the news broke about Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem, everyone has had an opinion (mostly negative but still an opinion) but those opinions don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you agree with Kaepernick or don’t agree with him and here’s why.
Think back to the speech that Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron James did before this year’s ESPYS, video can be seen here. Those guys were praised for using the EPSY stage to get their message of peace out to the audience that was currently watching and say what you will, Kaepernick’s kneeling is in the same vein. The only difference is is that Kaepernick’s stage is a LOT bigger than the ESPYs stage and yet Kaepernick is being almost mocked for his actions.
While Anthony, Paul, Wade, and LeBron’s speech was only discussed for the short news cycle, Kaepernick has managed to keep the attention on him for weeks which is exactly what is needed to bring about change. It doesn’t matter if you agree with his actions, he has the right to protest peacefully which is exactly what he’s doing. He has managed to also get other athletes involved which has only helped to grow the awareness of the social injustices currently affecting people in the United States.
Yes, Kaepernick and company protesting during the anthem now need to follow through with their actions and find a way to help bring about change. But with the amount of stories being written about the protests every week and players like Broncos Brandon Marshall meeting with the Police in Denver as a way to help push change forward. Isn’t this exactly what we want from our professional athletes? Don’t we want them to use their platform not to push products at us but to help make life better for the kids that look up to them?
You can’t want athletes to use their platform to bring about change then turn around and curse their actions when that is exactly what they’re doing. You can’t praise Carmelo, Chris, Dwayne, and LeBron then turn around and criticize Kaepernick and the NFL players that do the exact same thing. It just doesn’t work that way, both are striving to use their rights of free speech and capitalizing on the size of the platform to bring about social change.