Author Suzy Kasem once said: “Stand up for what’s right, regardless of who’s committing the wrong.” Standing up for what you believe in may earn you some hateration, but it may also earn you respect and recognition.
It’s no secret that San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick sparked controversy across the U.S after he decided to kick off the NFL season by taking a knee during the National Anthem on August 26. Kaepernick said he took a knee because he refused to show pride for a flag of a nation that continues to murder innocent people of color. Since then, he’s received death threats, ridicule from fellow NFL players, flak from various news outlets, and some more backlash on social media.
Even his biological mother Heidi Russo—who gave him up for adoption—ridiculed him for his silent protest stance via Twitter. “There’s ways to make change w/o disrespecting & bringing shame to the very country & family who afforded you so many blessings,” her tweet read. “The path less traveled doesn’t need to be one of destruction. #beenthere #besmarter #berespectful,” she posted in another tweet. A bit much coming from a woman who severed ties with her own son, and then attempted to have a relationship with him once he went pro isn’t it? On the other hand, Kaepernick’s received plenty of support from fans, fellow NFL players, and teammates like Eric Reid, who took a knee beside Kaepernick at another game on September 1. Kaepernick’s adoptive parents declined to comment on his stance, with Teresa Kaepernick saying, “It’s not in our best interest or Colin’s best interest.” The NFL player said his adoptive parents agree with what he’s standing for. Now, see the 28-year-old in his well-known knee stance as it lands the cover of Time magazine’s October 3 issue. The fact that the powerful gesture has garnered this much attention from the most circulated news magazine in the world proves Kaepernick’s silent protest has raised major public awareness on police brutality against blacks in the U.S. In the cover story, written by Sean Gregory, Time magazine interviewed several NFL stars, including Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty, and Cleveland Browns icon Jim Brown, as well as other athletes in other sports fields to share their viewpoints on the impact of Kaepernick’s silent protest.
“We’re not doing this made-up thing to get attention,” Jenkins said about joining Kaepernick’s silent protest by raising his fist during the National Anthem. “Real lives are being lost. Real communities are being affected,” he told the magazine. “The negativity comes from people’s unwillingness to digest the hard truth.”
In another interview with the Bay Area News Group, Kaepernick expressed his thoughts on the death threats he has received.
“If something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point,” said Kaepernick. “It’ll be loud and clear for everyone why it happened, and that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now.”
Say what you want to say about him. Kaepernick’s got the moxie to use his position as a public figure to raise awareness to the injustice taking place against people of color in the very nation we call home. Thank you Colin Kaepernick; you’re the real MVP.