At the 49ers final preseason game on Thursday, Colin Kaepernick chose once again not to stand during the national anthem in protest of police violence and the overall approach to race and discrimination in the United States. On this occasion, though, Kaepernick was not alone. Eric Reid, a teammate of Kaepernick’s, and Jeremy Lane, a member of the Seattle Seahawks, also chose not to stand during the anthems in their respective games.
It seems that Colin Kaepernick will continue not to stand during the national anthem. With this in mind, and with the two players who have already joined him, a number of questions can be raised.
- Will more players join this protest during the year?
Colin Kaepernick’s example has already spurred two more players to follow his actions and not stand during the national anthem. With final roster cuts coming today, each team will be at 53 players heading into the season. Will any of the other 1693 players in the NFL choose to join Kaepernick during the season?
- Will white players join the protest?
The foundations of this protest are around race. With that in mind, we need to ask the racial question. Will white players choose to sit in protest during the season? In some ways, it often seems like members of the majority group need to call on their fellow group members to actually begin to implement change. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see whether this protest spreads across racial lines.
- Will anything change because of this protest?
Thus far, there is not a consensus in public opinion about how to respond to these actions. Additionally, while there have only been two players so far to join the protest, it is now bigger than one person. But even if every player in the league were to join, or even if the protest were to spread into other professional sports leagues, would anything change? Is there any part of this protest that will have enough of an impact to change policing, or change how race is approached in this country?
Looking especially, it seems that Kaepernick may need to remain sitting for the rest of his career based on his reasons. Race has been an issue in this country since before its inception, and it does not seem that changes have been made quickly to work through this history. Kaepernick and others are certainly open to respond how they wish in regards to recognizing the national anthem, but this is not a protest that will be wrapped up nicely with a bow at some point. This is an ongoing issue that the country needs to work through.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of this protest is that it brings continued attention to an issues that needs to be addressed. However, it is uncertain at this time how much of an impact this protest will end up having. This may be a case where persistence and breadth of attack will pay off, and it may not. In either case, one wonders if it is possible to fault Kaepernick or any other players who believe it is morally necessary or appropriate to participate in this demonstration in order to continue to bring light to racial issues.