As a student-athlete at any level, it is a tremendous feeling to be able to play on a team. You spend so much time with your teammates going through workouts, practice and games. You build a bond with your teammates that will last a lifetime.
Last season, I remember when NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem. At that time, I did not look into it. I did not really understand WHY he was doing it and what it was he wanted to accomplish. I did not expect for his actions to have so much carryover. Since last season, Kaepernick has made an impact on the NFL. His efforts has caught the attention of league owners, other players and has stretched out to other sports teams.
He also lost his job as a quarterback.
So why is it that no team has decided to sign Kaepernick to a contract?
It’s not because he was speaking out against the racial issues that are starting to plague our country. It is not because we now have a president who some feel should be doing a lot more to bring awareness to the things facing this nation’s citizens.
When you look at the NFL, it usually is a league that forgives and forgets. I don’t think Kaepernick thought that things would have come to this point. But there were others who could see it coming. He is no longer in the NFL because no team wants that media coverage he’s brought to surround their team.
The situation with Kaepernick, who led his team to the Super Bowl in 2012, makes me think about another famous athlete who spoke out against issues like Muhammad Ali.
During Ali’s time as heavyweight champion, he was stripped of his title. Ali was drafted during the Vietnam War. He disagreed with the war, and he made it known that he would not fight in a war that he did not support. His career came to a halt. But he recovered.
Kaepernick helped create a buzz around the NFL. This season, there have been players and entire teams who have taken a knee or showed some display of support for the fight against social injustices in America.
In my eyes, Kaepernick sacrificed his career on the field and off the field — his image, everything — to help bring awareness to what is wrong with our country. I thank him for that.
As a country, there needs to be action. If one quarterback kneeling during the national anthem can catch America’s eye, just imagine what we could do as a whole to fight injustice in America.