Whether you agree with his method or not, San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a movement when he took a knee during the National Anthem at a pre-season NFL game to protest what he sees as racial injustice in our country.
Since then, many athletes in all levels of sports have joined in with their own variations of the protest. Here is a look at 6 ways in which athletes around the country have protested in order to raise awareness of social injustice.
1. Megan Rapinoe of the Seattle Reign and U.S. National Soccer Team has taken a knee before her WNSL games and U.S. Soccer games in solidarity with Kaepernick. After she knelt before the USA v. Thailand match on September 15th, USA Soccer put out a statement saying “We have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the National Anthem is played.” Rapinoe was not reprimanded and continued her protest in the next game v. Netherlands.
2. Philadelphia Eagles players Ron Brooks (33), Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Steven Means (51) raised their fists in the air during the National Anthem for a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 19, 2016.
3. The Indiana Fever knelt during the National Anthem before the game against the Phoenix Mercury during Round One of the 2016 WNBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Sept. 21, 2016.
4. Members of the Washington varsity alumni marching band knelt as they held a giant American flag during the playing of the National Anthem before an NCAA college football game between Washington and Rutgers in Seattle on Sept. 3, 2016.
5. A group of University of North Carolina students raised their fists throughout the performance of the National Anthem at the start of the UNC v. Pittsburgh game September 24th. At least two members of the UNC marching band knelt and did not play their instruments.
6. Colin Kaepernick visited Oakland’s Castlemont High School Football team who protested during the National Anthem by lying on their sidelines with their hands in the air. Kaepernick, in a pre-game speech, told the team:
“You are important. You make a difference. This matters. Everything you do matters.” ~ Colin Kaepernick
Say what you will about Kaepernick, but he has started a national conversation and that’s a good thing.