Activism

Your Turn: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Kneeling Protest

Many people have strong opinions about the former San Francisco 49ers player's political protest during the national anthem. Here's a sampling of the 6,000-plus comments we've received.

Your Turn: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick's Kneeling Protest

Eric Reid (#35), Colin Kaepernick (#7) and Eli Harold (#58) of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to their NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium on Oct. 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

A BillMoyers.com post this week on the significance of Colin Kaepernick’s on-field protest and the fallout it has created for the quarterback, hit a nerve with our readers, leading to more than 6,000 comments on Facebook (and counting). During the 2016 football season, Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to express his concerns about racial issues in America. In “Why Colin Kaepernick Matters,” columnist Samuel G. Freedman describes how Kaepernick, who is now a free agent after six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, has been essentially blacklisted by the NFL for his nonviolent political protest. Here’s a sampling of the (lighted edited) comments that we received after asking our Facebook community what they thought of Kaepernick’s protest.

 


 

“It’s a disgrace that a young man kneeling in silent, respectful protest is considered inappropriate, while hundreds of angry, torch bearing, screaming monsters rampaging through the night is actually being defended by some people.” — Ellen Gordon

“I wish every black player in every single major US pro sport — basketball, football and baseball — would refuse to play until Colin has a contract. The owners literally think they own these players, but the players — the vast majority of whom are black — own these sports. Who wants to own boxes to watch second-string benchwarmers play? They need to show these organizations who is really boss.” — Rebecca Meiers-De Pastino

Players with domestic violence, animal cruelty, tax evasion and other crimes don’t seem to foster nearly the animosity of a young man making a peaceful statement of protest.

— Eileen Peterson

“Here’s proof that this is a racist country. Players with domestic violence, animal cruelty, tax evasion and other crimes don’t seem to foster nearly the animosity of a young man making a peaceful statement of protest. While he is vilified for his politics, he has quietly gone about his life, having the unmitigated gall to commit acts like helping at risk youth and other charitable activities. He represents the best of America… The rich white men who own the teams of the NFL aren’t half the man he is.” — Eileen Peterson

“I paid too much money for a ticket for an NFL game to see some jerk turn it into a social comment. He had other venues to protest on. Don’t try to ruin my day just because you’re upset about something. Take it somewhere else.” — Scot Yates

“One thing I have recently become aware of is my own unearned privilege that doesn’t allow me to see things from a young black man’s perspective. The police officers who I have known are great people doing one of the toughest day-to-day jobs that there is. But right now we know that there is a thing called implicit bias affecting all of us. The only way to address that is to become aware of the limits of our own objectivity, and our ability to know what is true to others who come from a different perspective. I’m grateful that Collin helped me become more aware of that while suffering the consequences. If he spoke near my community, I would buy a ticket for each member of my family.” — David Farin

“Michael Bennett, one of our Seattle Seahawks, decided to sit on the bench during the national anthem at the game on Sunday. He was very humble as he explained why he chose to sit. In USA Today, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed his opinion. I will say this: I would sit with Michael Bennett before I’d ever stand with Donald Trump. I will never be so blind that I would pledge allegiance to a white supremacist who is destroying the reputation of America, and neither should any of us… Until Congress saves us from this scourge, I’m sitting with Michael!” [On Wednesday, Bennett said white players are needed to join the protest for it to be effective ]. — Karen Mcdonell

I will never be so blind that I would pledge allegiance to a white supremacist who is destroying the reputation of America. And neither should any of us.

— Karen Mcdonell

“What you do in your private life is one thing, but doing protest during and at your place of EMPLOYMENT is wrong. Kaepernick deserved to be blackballed, and the NFL, NBA and MLB need policies in place to prevent this kind of behavior to occur when on the field.” — John W Campbell

To which Judy O’Connell replied:

“He is taking a knee to the national anthem, which isn’t played on any corner, and if you do it in private it isn’t exactly a protest, is it? Yes, we have rules in the workplace but I don’t believe it was a rule at the time he did it. He is paying the price for his conviction just as others have done before him, some with their life. Equality is an inch-by-inch battle. — Judy O’Connell

“Kaepernick obviously loves his country so much that he goes onto his knee, during the playing of the national anthem, and he is saying ‘I am waiting for my country to live up to what it stands for, by defending and respecting all of its citizens, so I will be able to stand up with my hand on my heart which would be full of pride.'” — David White

“I equate [it] to the 1968 Olympics when two US athletes [Tommie Smith and John Carlos] bowed their heads and raised their fists during the playing of the national anthem at the medal ceremony. It’s a shame that it’s 2017 and the black community is still protesting the same racist America.” — Cindy Newman

Karin Kamp

Karin Kamp is a multimedia journalist and producer. She has produced content for BillMoyers.com, NOW on PBS and WNYC public radio and worked as a reporter for Swiss Radio International. She also helped launch The Story Exchange, a site dedicated to women’s entrepreneurship.

Jessica R. Calderón

Associate Producer

Jessica Ramírez Calderón is an associate producer for the Moyers team. She has worked for NY1 Noticias and Latin American News Digest, focusing on issues concerning Latinos both in the United States and abroad. Jessica studied theology and political science at Fordham University.

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