The player who started a protest

There is more than one way to stand up for some­thing.

The Week - Junior - - People -

When Colin Kaeper­nick was in the US equiv­a­lent of Year 5, he pre­dicted he would grow to be 1.93 me­tres tall, at­tend univer­sity and then play Amer­i­can foot­ball for one of his two favourite teams. He was right on all counts. How­ever, he could never have pre­dicted the in­flu­ence he would later have on the coun­try.

He be­came a star player at the Univer­sity of Ne­vada, and in 2011 he was signed by the San Fran­cisco 49ers of the Na­tional Foot­ball League (NFL) af­ter grad­u­a­tion. A year later he led the team to the Su­per Bowl, the sport’s cham­pi­onship, where they lost a thrilling game 34-31.

In 2016, Kaeper­nick de­cided he would ei­ther sit down or drop to one knee dur­ing the tra­di­tional pre-game singing of the US na­tional an­them. His de­ci­sion was made at a time when videos were be­ing posted on­line of the po­lice treat­ing black peo­ple un­fairly. “I am not go­ing to stand up to show pride in a flag for a coun­try that op­presses black peo­ple and peo­ple of colour,” he said.

Many peo­ple felt that his ac­tions were dis­re­spect­ful. How­ever, some fel­low play­ers fol­lowed his ex­am­ple. When the sea­son ended, Kaeper­nick’s con­tract wasn’t re­newed and he was left with­out a team to play for.

Last week, Pres­i­dent Trump in­sulted play­ers who kneel dur­ing the US na­tional an­them, and said pro­test­ers should be sacked. US sports stars were fu­ri­ous, and on 24 Septem­ber more than 200 play­ers re­fused to stand for the an­them. The week be­fore, there were only six.

Kaeper­nick may not be on the field right now, but his spirit of de­fi­ance and com­mit­ment to equal­ity is be­com­ing a na­tional move­ment.

Colin Kaeper­nick protested dur­ing the US na­tional an­them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.