The Kaepernick Effect

The Kaepernick Effect

Jordan Jenkins

There has been a huge uproar going on about athletes kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. The athletes are taking a knee or raising a fist during the anthem to simply exhibit that they do not agree with the current ongoing police brutalities and racial injustices. This silent protest has caused athletes to fall victim to excessive name calling.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid knelt during the National Anthem for the fourth week in a row. Linebacker Eli Harold, who previously had been only raising his fist during the anthem, joined Kaepernick and Reid in kneeling during week three. Other players have decided to tie into the protest along with the 49ers.

The closed-mouth protest has even spilled over to high school sports. Several Desoto High School volleyball players knelt during the anthem before a game Tuesday night. The players told NBC 5 news that the next black man shot could easily be their dad, boyfriend or brother.

This protest is a beautiful thing. I love seeing mainstream athletes use their publicity to make a difference. Every change that has ever been made started with a protest. For example, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington and the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. If we want the countless numbers of unnecessary killings to stop, we must take a stand. The fact that teenagers are now becoming a part of the protest speaks volumes.

The silent protest is not a form of disrespect to the National Anthem or to the United States. It is merely athletes promoting a cause that they believe is important.

Those who are suggesting that the athletes protest in a “different manner” are trying to strip them of their first amendment rights. I agree with the protest, however, I don’t believe that they should protest in that way is a weak argument. The first amendment states that the US Constitution prohibits the interference of peaceable assembly. The athletes’ protests are exactly that: peaceable assemblies. The players have the right to use the anthem as a protest and should not be ridiculed for doing so.

Every day there are more and more athletes taking part in the peaceful protest at sporting events. The protests are done in hopes of bringing attention to the issues. While it will take more than kneeling to resolve problems that are decades old, the very act of drawing attention to the issues means that the protest has had a positive impact.