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Colin Kaepernick: A Revolutionary Before his Time

Colin Kaepernick: A Revolutionary Before his Time

A Brief Summary of Colin Kaepernick’s Early Career Achievements

Colin Kaepernick: a Revolutionary Before his Time
Photo courtesy of Tim Kawakami of Bay Area News Group
Colin Kaepernick walks off the field after losing to the Revens in Super Bowl XLVII 34-31

At 25, San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made his NFL playoff debut. In that game, he rushed for 181 yards and threw for 263 yards as well. The team would beat the Green Bay Packers 45-31 and advance to the Super Bowl as a result.

At 26, Kaepernick would lead the San Fransisco 49ers back to the NFC title game in his first season as a starter.

When Kaepernick turned 28, he took a knee during the national anthem for the first time.

He did this in order to protest the police brutality that has occurred against the African American population over the last decade or so.

Kaepernick was quoted saying “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Throughout the 2016 season, Kaepernick continued to kneel yet he continued to maintain his employment status. Although the San Fransico 49ers had an awful campaign, Kaepernick had a decent season throwing for 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

It’s Your job to Stand up for Your Beliefs

Unfortunately, Kaepernick left the organization in March of 2017.

Kaepernick left the organization due to a conversation in which San Fransisco 49ers general manager John Lynch told him that he would be fired if he didn’t re-sign.

When asked about the subject by NFL reporters Lynch stated ” Brian Hoyer was one of the guys we pursued. Once we pursued him, we didn’t see Kap as a backup that would really fit in that scheme and we communicated that to him. So I think we’ve been very upfront with it. But I think that is a fair characterization. Yes, he was not going to be here under the construct of his contract. We gave him the option: ‘You can opt-out, we can release you, whatever.’ And he chose to opt-out, but that was just a formality.”

But the way in which no NFL team would even consider signing the quarterback as a back up made the situation feel very strange, to say the least.

The Politics of the NFL

A large factor in this occurrence likely was the pressures the league was facing from President Donald Trump.

On September 23, 2017 Trump tweeted “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If you choose not to you’re fired!”

On September 24, 2017 Trump followed this remark by stating “…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.”

The problem with this statement is that Kaepernick was never trying to disrespect the flag.

When Kaepernick first started his movement he did choose to sit.

After having a long conversation with his teammate Eric Reid and Nate Boyer (a former Green Beret/NFL player) he chose to kneel rather than sit.

Reid stated “We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.”

Torrey Smith, a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, said in an interview: “I understand why people are offended by people protesting the National Anthem. My father served for 25 years. When he dies, he’s going to be wrapped in an American flag. But my dad is also out of the Army, and he drives trucks all over the country, and he’s a black man everywhere he goes, and sometimes he has racial incidents still today. That doesn’t protect him, just because he served our country. And I think that’s important.”

Just do it

Colin Kaepernick: a Revolutionary Before his Time
Nike video Tweet courtesy of Colin Kaepernick

One company that seemed to help spread light on the movement was Nike.

In September of 2018, Nike released a commercial that stated ” Beleive in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”

Kaepernick was the face of the commercial. This showed that the company supported his belief and is a quality example of corporate activism.

After the commercial was released many stated that they were going to stop wearing Nike products.

However, the commercial provoked more positive responses around the world than negative. Nike even won a creative arts Emmy Award as a result.

Colin Kaepernick’s Suspicious NFL Workout

In February of the year 2019, the NFL settled a collusion lawsuit with both Reid and Kaepernick. Due to the details of the agreement neither player was allowed to openly speak about the deal. As a result, no one has a clue what happened with the settlement.

Seven months later the league announced an impromptu workout for Kaepernick at the Atlanta Falcons arena. What made this sketchy was that neither Kaepernick nor the Atlanta Falcons were aware of this until a few days before the event was supposed to take place.

Kaepernick asked who would be attending the workout, but he wasn’t able to get specific names from the league. All they were willing to tell him was that at least eleven teams would have been there and that Hue Jackson would be running the workout.

Kaepernick asked if the league would be willing to let the workout be open to the media, along with allowing his team to record the workout.

The league refused. They stated Falcons personnel would be recording the workout and that it would be distributed to all 32 NFL teams.

The Aftermath of the NFL’s Inflexibility

As a result of the situation, Kaepernick chose to not attend the workout. Instead, he hosted his own workout at the high school in town.

Six NFL team’s reporters ended up coming to Kaepernick’s workout.

When speaking with them afterward’s Kaepernick stated “We all know why I came out here and showed it today in front of everybody,” Kaepernick said. “We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.”

Even though Kaepernick looked in shape at the workout according to scout, no NFL teams made an attempt to sign Kaepernick.

The league released a statement saying they were “disappointed” Kaepernick no-showed there workout.

Things were starting to get bleak for Kaepernick’s NFL future.

The Brutal Demise of George Floyd

In January of 2020, the Coronavirus broke out across the United States of America.

By the time March had rolled around non-essential businesses had all but closed down throughout the U.S. Essential businesses were also following strict precautionary guidelines. Most importantly it had become illegal for people to hold large gatherings throughout the U.S.

What this meant was that there was very little news happening throughout the United States.

Suddenly, a man by the name of George Floyd was killed on March 25, 2020. The man who killed him was a  police officer by the name of Derek Chauvin.

Floyd had supposedly paid using a fake 20 dollar bill at a convenience store called Cup of Foods.

When Chauvin and three other police officers arrived they managed to tackle George Floyd to the ground.

However, upon doing so Chauvin knelt on top of Floyd’s neck. He did so for multiple minutes as Floyd cries out mercifully begging for his mam while stating “I can’t breathe!”

Onlookers were distraught and they begged the cop to oblige his request, as he was already handcuffed and could’ve easily been placed in the back seat of the police vehicle.

But the officer didn’t listen.

A Viral Effect During Virus Season

Afterwards, a recording of the incident went viral across all social media platforms. Thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest the injustice that had occurred.

This type of injustice was the exact injustice that Colin Kaepernick had been kneeling to prevent.

But there was one crucial factor in the uniting of American citizens during this time of chaos.

That was the Coronavirus outbreak. While the outbreak has killed off thousands across the United States and has therefore been a terrible thing. It had one positive effect.

it took our attention away from the many distractions that we have throughout our typical day to day existence and allowed us to focus on an issue that has been present throughout most of humanity.

That issue is racism.

One of the many people who benefited strongly from this movement was Kaepernick.

This was due to the ripple effect of businesses showing they support Black Lives Matter. The effect became so strong in Colin Kaepernick’s case that Trump even stated “I would absolutely support Colin Kaepernick’s NFL return.

Kaepernick also managed to land an apology from NFL commission Roger Goodell as Goodell stated “I encourage a team to sign Kaepernick”

These statements should be considered a huge win for Kaepernick.

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