September 7, 2020

Colin Rand Kaepernick was born on 3, November, 1987 and is a professional American Football player.

Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick

On 23 August 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the US National Anthem, played before the game between his team, the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. Joining him was Eric Reid. He was protesting against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “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.”

Colin told NFL Media that he is aware of what he is doing and that he knows it will not sit well with a lot of people, including the 49ers. He said that he did not inform the club or anyone affiliated with the team of his intentions to protest the national anthem. 

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

And that is precisely what happened. There was an incredible backlash which included abuse and death threats on Twitter, ritualistic burning of replicas of his number 7 49ers shirt, death threats and then he was released by the 49ers at the end of that season. Colin became a free agent after the season ended and has not been picked up by another team since, even though more than 4 years has passed since his silent protest began.

In Autumn 2016, Colin set up the Know Your Rights charitable organisation, starting it with $100,000 of his own money. When asked what he hoped to achieve, he gave the following response,

“You have unarmed children being murdered, and you have unarmed adults being murdered. So, it’s affected all ages of people of color, and to try to give them knowledge of how to help de-escalate those situations, even though that shouldn’t be their responsibility.”

“Giving them that knowledge of, ‘OK, how can I help myself get home at night?’ and not only that, ‘What are my rights in this situation, so my rights don’t get violated while I’m doing this?’ And really giving them that opportunity to say, ‘No, you’re not just going to treat me as somebody that doesn’t have rights, that isn’t a human being. You’re going to treat me as a human being with respect because I know who I am and what my rights are as a human being.’

That will be a very impactful, very intense part. Especially, once again, with the climate of our country, because these are real issues that they face on a daily basis that a lot of other people don’t have to deal with. They don’t have to have these conversations, because it’s not an issue. And it’s something that we want to make sure, once again, that we give them some knowledge, some tools that allow them to function more easily within the society that we’re in right now.”

The President then involved himself, describing any player not standing for the flag as a “son of a bitch”:

On 22 September 2017, US President Donald Trump said, “They’re ruining the game,” and that they were disrespecting the flag and deserve to lose their jobs. “That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” he said, encouraging owners to act. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said to loud applause.

In November 2017, Colin and Eric Reid filed a collusion lawsuit against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league. A confidential settlement was reached in February 2019 which included a non-disclosure clause preventing Colin and Eric speaking publicly about the terms of the settlement.

The abuse on Twitter continued, especially when Colin received an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2018.

In September 2018, Colin received a contract with Nike for his own branded clothing and trainers. Once again, Twitter didn’t like it:

Once again, certain people on Twitter (those who support Trump, I checked) didn’t like it:

Some told Colin that racism no longer existed….
…Others burned their Nike products

While Colin started the protest by himself, he was not alone. Americans with a deeper level of melanin were tired of pretending that racial inequality and police brutality did not exist and of keeping quiet so that certain factions of the white Americans did not feel uncomfortable.

In May 2020, with the brutal state sanctioned killing of George Floyd, protestors around the world rose up in disgust after seeing the filmed footage of George’s death at the hands of police in Minnesota. Across the world, people kneeled, like Colin, in silent protest, against police brutality.

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand,” Colin has said.

Sources: The Bleacher Report, Twitter, The Undefeated.

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