On August 26, 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat for the national anthem in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Four years later, the Milwaukee Bucks made the decision to sit-out their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Both protests were in the name of racial justice, as the fight for equality in the country continues.
Kaepernick received a lot of negative attention, for sitting, and later kneeling, for the national anthem, but continued to protest for his message to bring awareness and end to the injustices that occur based on race.
Colin spoke to Green Beret Nate Boyer, who was appreciative of Kaepernick’s right as an American to protest peacefully and suggested that the QB kneel rather than sit. Colin took his suggestion and went on kneeling, sparking a movement of other players kneeling as well.
The players voiced that their message was never one as disrespect to anyone who served, but as a way for them to send a message about what Black people face in this country every day. The kneeling was for the victims of police brutality and for the young children who died innocently after being shot by the police.
The league has flipped their stance on the protests, saying they were wrong for not listening earlier.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has voiced this year that he was four years too late with backing No. 7’s message and encourages teams to sign the QB.
The year has been filled with athletes protesting for equality, as social unrest continues to build throughout the country following innocent lives lost, such as Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot multiple times by police attempting to open his car door. The police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin lead to riots and messages of unity, equality and action from players across sports.
The Bucks players, who play out of the same state as the shooting, have not yet come out with a statement on sitting the game out, but other players have taken to social media in support of the Bucks players.
The coincidence of the date of these two protests is just that, a coincidence, but for many will serve as a metaphor for the ongoing fight and the power of athletes’ voices.