Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Kaepernick Flips the Script: Empowering the Silenced Black Athlete

LaToya Brackett


Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, committed no crime, but created an uproar within the United States of America after he took the conscious choice to sit (later kneel) during the National Anthem for the 2016 NFL season. He chose to sit in protest against the injustices faced by Blacks in America, especially after a tumultuous year of deaths of Blacks at the hands of the police. He sat in protest for the lack of justice for those killed. He sat because his conscious could no longer allow him to stand for the National Anthem that for him did not represent all Americans. He sat despite the financial success his career in football afforded him, and most likely he planned to maintain as his career. This paper explores the racial implications of Colin Kaepernick’s choice to protest the National Anthem, his stance of the issues that he protested, the various impacts on Americans, and the major impact on Kaepernick as a professional athlete in America. Utilizing two theories, the experiences of Kaepernick throughout his first year of protest, are analyzed. The goal of this paper is to give an accurate time line, with the emphasis on Colin Kaepernick as a representation of the Black male athlete in America. As the theories demonstrate, the Black athlete is not to be heard, and Kaepernick’s silent protest flipped the script on the silent Black athlete for the current generation, in the digital age. His courage to take a stand habitually, as a professional athlete, without a specific person in mind, but an entire cause, resonated with many—in positive and negative ways. A very prominent component to this impact resided in the racial implications, and they must be recognized.

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