EP 510 Taking a Knee For Racial Justice



Amid a wave of police shootings in 2016, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began a series of quiet protests on the field, most notably refusing to stand and taking a knee during the national anthem.  Much controversy ensued in the wake of his action and while he has found himself, despite a strong showing on the field, in exile as a result, there is a direct line between his actions and protesters on the streets across America in 2020.  They were there to protest another knee, that of Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, which choked the life out of George Floyd.  While some commenentators say ‘shut up and play ball’, that flies in the face of athlete activism throughout our history, most notably names like Jackie Robinson, Muhammed Ali, Bill Russell and today, LeBron James.  In his book ‘The Kaepernick Effect’, sports writer Dave Zirin documents the many acts of courage by athletes in high school and college who were inspired by Colin Kaepernick.  He has made his mark.  And as promising as he career on the field was, until he was used as an example of what NFL authorities would not tolerate, his impact off the field has been far greater.