I don’t usually write about political things. Mostly because it’s a rabbit hole, and once I go down it, I’m not sure I could stop. There is so much wrong with the world. So. Much. Wrong. Yet, here I am.
Short Timeline of Events:
- In the 2016 football season, during the preseason games, Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sat during the national anthem.
- Three preseason games into the 2016 season, Kaepernick was asked about his actions, and he states it is about "protesting the oppression of people of color and police brutality."
- Kaepernick met with Nate Boyer (Army Green Beret / former NFL player) in 2016, and they decided kneeling was a more respectful way to protest. (Kneeling is already in practice: kneeling when players are hurt / kneeling when handing a flag to the family of a fallen soldier, etc.).
- Kaepernick continues to kneel while the national anthem is playing (throughout the 2016 and 2017 seasons), gradually getting joined by other players (across levels and sports).
Partly because of the Presidential election in 2016, the narrative of kneeling for the national anthem became an argument about whether or not Kaepernick was being disrespectful of the police / military / America-in-general by kneeling.
To the people who say, yes, he was being disrespectful, I say: protesting things a person views as wrong in society is as American as the Boston Tea Party. I would add: Kaepernick found a way to protest that didn’t involve destruction of property (unlike said Tea Party).
To be clear though: Kaepernick has stated, repeatedly, that his protest is not against the police, the military, or even America. His protest is about how people of color are being treated in America.
I am glad that Nike picked Kaepernick as a spokesperson. Unfortunately, his selection has spurred some people to burn their Nike gear. I’m certain Nike doesn’t care that these people are burning items they already bought.
Their counter-protest got me thinking though … how could I show that I support Kaepernick’s message? Short of a couple workout shirts, I don’t have anything Nike anywhere in my closet. So yesterday, I bought some gear. I picked out socks, a shirt, a sweatshirt, and small bag that I liked.
I didn’t buy this stuff because Nike needs the money – they don’t. I bought it because I want to show my family, friends, classmates, and random people on the streets where I fall in all of this.
Police killing unarmed people of color is wrong. The double standard in American society that gives people of color harsher treatment / sentences is wrong. This is what Kaepernick is protesting. Nike has hired Kaepernick help continue the conversation about the problem. And that is why I’m wearing Nike, to do my bit to support Kap's message and continue the conversation.