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Media Loses Focus on Kaepernick’s Kneeling Anthem Protest

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Actions speak louder than words; we all know the phrase. Taking action on a problem is better than saying something about a problem. Tell that one to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Let us flashback for a moment. We’ll specifically go back to July 13, 2016, which was the day of the 2016 ESPY awards. One of the most powerful speeches spoken that night was delivered by NBA superstars Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. In their speech, they emphasized the need for immediate change in terms of racial inequality and violence. Linking arms, they declared, “The system is broken…the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”

Wade honed in on racial profiling, demanding, “As athletes, it’s on us to challenge each other to do even more than we already do in our communities,” and “The conversation, it cannot stop as our schedules get busy again. It won’t always be convenient…it won’t always be comfortable, but it is necessary”.

James ended the speech with a powerful note, proclaiming, “Let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes…speak up…use our influence…go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them.” It was truly a riveting speech given by the quadruplet, and the call was heard by none other than Colin Kaepernick.

Flash-forward to August 26, which was Colin Kaepernick’s first preseason game after sitting out the other two with an injury. The fans get settled in, the lights dim. Over the loudspeaker, the commentator says, “Everyone please rise and remove your caps for the national anthem.” A shuffling among the crowd begins. Hats come off, hands are placed over hearts, the faint sound of children wondering how a crowd filled with thousands of people is brought to a complete silence lingers on until some parents qualm their questions. Players from both sides line up along the sideline and rise. Except for Kaepernick. Kaepernick sat that day as he wasn’t “going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

No one realized it at the time, not even Colin Kaepernick, but his refusal to stand for the national anthem would embody Wade’s promise that, “[Taking action] won’t always be convenient…it won’t always be comfortable, but it is necessary.”

The next day, the media blew up with the Colin Kaepernick news. Every news station, every sports station, had hosts infuriated over his actions. Articles were published at a break-neck pace, and even his own birth mother shamed his actions over Twitter, tweeting, “The path less traveled doesn’t need to be the one of destruction.” News outlets slammed him for disrespecting the flag and the freedoms our military provide us. Former NFL safety Rodney Harrison even went as far to say that, “I’m a black man, and Colin Kaepernick…he’s not black. He cannot understand what…black people face on an every single day basis.” Kaepernick had officially awakened the constitutionally protected bear called the news.

Here we go again. September 1, the national anthem is being played at another 49ers game. This time however, Kaepernick is not alone. Eric Reid, a safety for the 49ers, is knelling alongside Kaepernick, arms joined together, similar to how it was done during the ESPYs. A movement has been started. Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, a former teammate of Kaepernick, kneels during the opening game of the regular season. Megan Rapione, a soccer player who participated in the latest Women’s World cup, kneels. Once again, national news responds. This time, there is more hate for their actions. The Washington Spirit, a National Women’s Soccer League team, played the anthem before Rapione came out onto the field because they didn’t want Rapione to, “highjack this tradition.”

Were Kaepernick’s actions inconvenient? Yup. Has he spent his resources like LeBron said to? Yup. Kaepernick donated one million dollars to poor communities in the San Francisco area after he knelt for the anthem. Most news outlets didn’t report that key piece of information. Do Kaepernick’s actions really outweigh Lebron’s words?

We all know about the news. I’m the news, you’re the news, we’re all the news. This constitutionally protected beast has the ability to publish uncensored articles on anything they want. Mostly, the news is a secure outlet for truthful information. But other times, it acts as a two-faced monster, manipulating information and pulling on people’s heart-strings for attention.

This is one of those times. The media, by and large, vehemently pushed the narrative that Kaepernick’s actions were wrong and that there are better ways to draw attention to the issue. The media continued to do this even as military member after military member came out supporting Kaepernick’s actions, with one of them tweeting, “I never signed up to protect a song, but I signed up to protect the right to protest and free speech #VeteransforKaepernick. How many news outlets outwardly reported that?

The news changed the topic from racial inequality to how he approached the situation. We all know he knelt, but many still don’t know why he knelt. That’s a failing of the media’s. He knelt for change. Kaepernick, Reid, Jeremy Lane, Doug Baldwin and Rapione knelt for change. Locally, four Miami Dolphins players – Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills, and Michael Thomas took a knee during the anthem at their season opening game in Seattle, and they too caught hell for it. But do we know why they kneel? They kneel for change. I kneel for change. The news had us encapsulated in the brave words proclaimed by James, Wade, Paul and Anthony. Paul said that we have, “to be the change we need to see.” This is the change they wanted.  This is the change I wanted. This is the change you wanted. Here we are. Here comes change. Do you still want change?


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Media Loses Focus on Kaepernick’s Kneeling Anthem Protest