The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick

In college, Kaepernick began a journey that led him to his position as one of the most prominent, if divisive, social activists in sports.

Comments: 207

  1. From this entirely too long article, one line and one line alone stands out, "second-string has-been looking for attention". I, as much as anyone can appreciate a political and social statement made for the benefit of the oppressed. But Colin has no idea what it means to be oppressed. He could read a thousand books on the subject but unless you are subjected to it, it is not the same. The fact that he did this all while on the job is a separate matter altogether.

  2. Does one really have to experience oppression to not recognize it and speak out? Furthermore, who are we to say that he has not experienced oppression? I appreciate Colin sticking his neck out and using his platform to raise awareness. Additionally, Kaepernick is quietly backing it all up with action, creating greater impact advancing social justice than he ever could have by simply playing a game. When seeing Colin sitting/kneeling during the anthem, I am reminded of John Carlos and Tommie Smith; all speaking out with significant personal risk.

  3. Yep, John, he was born in the NFL draft. He never had any other experiences. Not in college. Not in high school, not in primary school.

    I honestly don't know his background, but you don't know if he has never felt oppressed. It is my understanding that being born with brown skin means one is almost guaranteed to experience oppression. Also, John, you as a white person (I'm rather certain I am on solid ground in that assumption) don't know what it is like to be a member of a minority.

  4. In team sports, once the uniform is put on, everything is done as a team, the main goal is to play as a team, do the best you can and try to win, as a team. What is done without the uniform on is the individual right of everyone. What if there was a white supremacist on the team who was morally convinced that giving the nazi salute during the national anthem was his moral imperative? Would this be in the interest of team unity? People go to see professional sports as a relief from the stresses of politics and tough times. I do not believe that this is the venue for grievance divisiveness. I wish Colin all the best in finding his way in life, but I believe that he is taking the wrong route to resolving his concerns.

  5. I don't agree that sports are there just for the relief from stresses of politics. For some people maybe, but professional sports in the US are extremely politicized. The anthem and hand-over-the-heart routine alone is what makes football (and other US sports) political. It's major way to foster nationalism, which is inherently political. (I don't agree with your comparison to the Nazi salute, that's just a false equivalence in my book).

    As the author writes, Colin believes in every man or woman fighting for their rights, rather than expecting a leader to do so for the entire group. The football pitch is already a political venue, and all he did -- and hopefully will continue to do -- is use it as such. More power to him.

  6. What is the right route?

  7. How quaint. It's been a long time since someone had the idea teams were important. It's pretty obvious his teammates value him having voted to give him the team's highest honor. There is so much for everyone to learn from what Kaepernick is doing and for the first time in a long time I'm happy that kids are watching because there's not much else happening in professional sports even half as honorable. For me there is no better role model, no greater American.

  8. The whole point of democracy is that everyone can participate. If Kaepernick wants to take a knee, not vote, etc., then he clearly does not know what opportunity he has. Disrespecting the flag and national anthem is just poor taste.

  9. The whole point of democracy is that everyone can CHOOSE to vote.

  10. The shooting of black men by police disrespects the flag more than kneeling during an anthem.

  11. @Peter Jackel - Both actions disrespect what the flag represents.

    I find it curious that while Mr. Kaepernick apparently wants the conversation to be about the topic of racial injustice rather than himself, yet he turned down several invitations from the NYT to express his views in this article.

  12. Thank you Collin.

  13. This man only became an activist after getting benched in the NFL and getting involved with his racist girlfriend. Please stop ellivating him to hero status. He did this to draw attention to himself on the bench, nothing more.

  14. Why are you calling his girlfriend racist? Do you think there is no systemic racism against blacks? Have you read the statistics about black men in jail, the disparities in drug sentences, the history of redlining neighborhoods, the denial of black men for the GI bill, the accounts of police violence? Do you honestly think the playing field is even?

    I commend the young people of today that have found the vocabulary to identify and try to change these things. I am a 55 year old white female and I don't understand how anybody cannot be in agreement with them and accord them their right to protest and challenge the system.

    The power structure is insidious and the oppression is covert, not overt. If you refuse to recognize this, it is because you profit from this system whether you choose to recognize it our not.

    Remember no oppressed people ever got rights without demanding them.

  15. Wow, I expected more from a comment in the NYT comment section. Your simplistic view of the situation is the reason he was kneeling in the first place. It's easy to dismiss the horrors that happen to minorities in this society especially when it is being perpetrated by individuals employed by public institution that we all pay taxes for that are supposed to be protecting all of us (not just white Americans). To make matters worse, they are not being held accountable for these crimes.

  16. Colin Kaepernick is one of the bravest people I can think of in a sport I hate. I've always believed that football was a plantation sport, and the NFL owners has yet again proven that is a correct assumption. He dared to make a statement about the mistreatment of black men at the hands of police who will never, ever be held accountable. It's very easy for white people to dismiss what has/is happening to black people in this country since it's very inception. These NFL owners love to exploit black athletes and are aided and abetted by the college plantation system. The mere fact that he has dared to kneel in protest and is paying the price for it proves that from when they start to compete, which can be as early as elementary school, black players are not looked upon as people, but property. Many will say that he was well compensated overlook the many thousands who have participated in the sport were not, and suffer to this day from the damage inflicted upon them on the football field. I find great comfort in the fact that the sport of football may end in the coming decades due to the fact that parents are now not allowing their children to play a sport that more than likely will damage their bodies and brains. I thank Colin Kaepernick for the noble sacrifice he has made.

  17. @Bill - I think that "noble sacrifice" is a bit overboard. No one made Kaepernick become a football player, he chose it and likely had all his tuition paid in college. Football has made him a multi-millionaire. "College plantation system" you say? What about the non-minority college players coming through the ranks in the same exact way -- are they also exploited? All players sign contracts of their own free will, and the NFL owners are their employers, and as in any job anywhere, performance matters. Kaepernick was 1 - 10 in 2016, so his playing has declined, and his protest is likely viewed as a distraction for any prospective team.

  18. As usual, CK and his crew forget the basics: the NFL isn't about sports, it is about entertainment. And like Kathy Griffin and others like her, when you're no longer entertaining, the customers tune out.

    I refuse to watch the NFL, anymore.

  19. just please don't say he "took a knee."

  20. The NFL and its all-white owners are boycotting Colin for one reason: he stands for something that they can't abide: EQUALITY.

  21. Having Kaepernick on your team would no doubt be a headache, and standing up for what is right, especially when it's difficult, takes courage. NFL owners have made millions off a spectacle that amounts to little more than the deterioration of human beings in slow motion. I would not look to them for courage, or to do the right thing. They would rather defend a racist mascot.

  22. @David - Kaepernick has also "made millions off of a spectacle".

  23. Kaepernick is a a hero in my book. He has increased awareness of the racism in America, especially in the Police Departments. I think his name will go down in history as one of the valiant fighters for equality. Here in Boston we have our Patriots whose leadership kisses the butt of a President we all despise. A Leadership that uses Black Athletes yet cozies up to someone who supports the Alt Right and Neo-Nazis. Kaepernick has brought all of this to the surface.

  24. The one issue that ruins it for me regarding Kaepernick was his refusal to vote in the 2016 election. If you don't vote, don't complain.....

  25. I felt exactly the same way as you. That is until a read this article. He's definitely walking the walk.

  26. Not only did he not vote; when the public attention he had earned by taking a stand turned to him for comment, he asserted there was little difference between the two candidates. here is the crux of the problem with our focus on symbolic action while neglecting substance, even while his actions since the controversy are praiseworthy. how many people who had been inspired by his protests would have been motivated had he said "Hillary Clinton is a flawed vessel and we should hold her to a high standard; but Donald Trump is the embodiment of divisiveness and hatred, please go vote"

  27. I agree. I am puzzled what "rights" he teaches in his camps, since he did not avail himself of the right to vote. His total rejection of Hillary because in the 90's she used the term "super predator" once also seems childish. He helped elect Trump. Hard to care that nobody will sign him to play football.

  28. Colin Kaepernick seems way to smart for the NFL. His mind deserves better than CTE.

  29. Exactly - GRAD School is a way better use of time and money

  30. Kaepernick's allegiance to God and country is wholly evident in his taking a knee during the national anthem. For this act of civil disobedience and calling out hypocrisy, he's come under attack. Given the attention and national conversation incurred its clear he's doing something right. And right on!

  31. Colin may be a capable enough backup QB to earn an NFL job. But is he a capable enough spokesman for the causes he chooses to martyr? Given his clumsy handling of the Che Guevara situation, it seems he is not fully prepared for nuanced conversations about real oppression. NFL teams would be more open to hiring Colin if he seemed able to cogently and articulately explain his stances while playing the role of both backup QB and team mate. He seems clumsy with his words, which is a landmine in this topic and which creates potential adversity for teams. As such they have every right to pass.

  32. Most of us are not eloquent enough to be a spokesman. Does that mean we should not speak out? I think not.

  33. It's hard for NFL to make moral arguments considering the number players involved in domestic abuse cases they've allowed on teams, but I digress.

  34. Kaepernick is indeed brave. He exercised his freedom of expression.

    Furthermore, he also realized freedom of expression does not mean freedom from consequence. He can kneel down during the Anthem, but a lot of viewers find that highly disrespectful, given these are multi-million dollar payday athletes.

    By all means, he should be picked up by a team, but has proven to be too much of a liability. A majority of NFL players go broke within 5 years. I suspect the same will happen here.

  35. I find this entire mess hard to understand Why does Mr. Kaepernick believe he is entitled to use his job to promote his political viewpoint? That is the crux of most criticism of his act. If my doctor, bank teller, auto mechanic, etc used their job as an opportunity to express any political opinion I would just as offended as I am by Mr. Keapernick. Newspaper columnists are among the few American who are can say they are employed to provide a political opinion. But not the rest of of us!

  36. Sure we can. And, we can take the consequences just like Mr. Kaepernick, though most of us wouldn't be willing to lose millions by doing so.

  37. Hi Donna,
    I have a counter to your argument. Have you ever worked at an employer that forced all employees to a conference room or large field to stand for the pledge of allegiance? Also, these players are not your typical employees Agree with my statement or not, but many within the black community, no matter how high they go in society ever truly feel accepted as an equal and treated fairly in society. Blacks fought for this country and helped build it as well, so his silent protest has nothing to do with not supporting our troops. I promise the NFL and anyone supporting its position will be on the wrong side of history. The hypocrisy in criticizing him for not standing in a nation that prizes freedom of thought and speech.

  38. None of the jobs you listed open with the national anthem. If they did, you might be surprised.

  39. I'm a white child of the '60s, college graduate, Viet Nam vet whose sports "heroes" include Muhammad Ali, Tommy Smith, Bill Russell, et al. I now include Colin Kaepernick in that pantheon for the same reasons...

  40. I too admire those famous sports figures. But I still find Vietnam vets to have the more meaningful perspectives on what this country is capable of.

  41. This comment should be highlighted.

  42. Great comment; well said!

  43. There's some people that have a hard time unknowing things. This man seems very aware of his blessings. But he's been made aware of injustices and seems he couldn't resolve continuing as though everything was just fine while, evidently, it is not. He's made a sacrifice. This is how he resolved it. And it seems to be working.

  44. The flag was long ago co-opted as a symbol of militarism and the exercise of power in the name of nationalism. So too the national anthem although, of course, its militaristic themes have always been here.
    When patriotism becomes a matter of good citizenship, of giving of yourself to peaceful community-centered causes, then you will see me stand for the national anthem and salute the flag. Until then, look for me alongside Kaepernick.
    Carl, Portland

  45. "...national anthem although, of course, its militaristic themes have always been here..."

    This nation was created in war (the Revolutionary), tested in war (of 1812), and remade in war (the Civil). The only thing surprising is that you find 'militaristic themes' in the national anthem surprising.

  46. operadog said: "When patriotism becomes a matter of good citizenship, of giving of yourself to peaceful community-centered causes, then you will see me stand for the national anthem and salute the flag. "
    - - -
    Millions of U.S. citizens do what you describe on a regular basis, often on their own time in addition to work. If you do not see good citizenship in our country, you're either looking in the wrong place or not looking at all.

  47. Considering how Kaepernick's style of protest has spread throughout the league, it's odd that he remains a target.
    but......
    he has been silent.
    and
    he allowed his girlfriend to tweet his way out of a spot with the Ravens.
    Ray Lewis is saying more than CK.
    So he will coach a high school team somewhere......

  48. Most pro sports fans a just morons.

    Guess that's why I don't follow or watch pro sports.

    Good for Colin.

    He should be able to stand up against racism...and not be trashed for being "divisive."

  49. Exactly,

  50. Colin clearly has identity issues. He is the progeny of a mixed race couple as well as being adopted by white parents.

    His personal identity issues is what is fueling his activism. However, all this racial nonsense is not reflective of the country at large - for crying out loud we elected a black president. His activism is self serving and everyone who isn't a SJW knows it.

  51. This argument is a hollow appeal to motive, and little more.

    The idea that the election of a black president somehow proves all American racism to be obsolete has grown pretty weak and tired, especially now that we've also collectively elected a president who has the ongoing and gleeful approval of David Duke (and his ilk).

  52. Some of us elected a black president, and others protested him in the most vile, and personal ways possible for the duration of his eight years in office. The Republicans got away with announcing publicly that they would block anything he tried to do on behalf of the American people, and our current president only recently admitted that Obama's birth certificate was legitimate, thus also admitting that he propagated a lie about Obama's citizenship for eight years. All this "racial nonesense" resulted in the unfit president we now have. When black people write books and letters to the editor, who pays attention. It is not until they somehow offend society that anyone pays attention. Then those people say, "they should champion their cause another way. But no marching, no signs, no fires, no swearing, no boycotting, no strikes, no sit-ins no sit-downs, no protests.... just find another way."

  53. There is probably nothing I can say to change your mind, but I'm still going to point out that the fact that we elected a black president does not mean that racism is dead and there are no more race related issues. The reason for the drastic wealth gap between blacks and whites is not just a product of slavery that people are refusing to get over. Look up redlining. Google "reason for black white wealth gap USA" and read a few long form articles. And self-serving? Shutting up and not protesting would be self serving - he would still have a job paying him millions of dollars. Like I said though, this will likely not change your mind. I would fit under your definition of SJW, as would Colin. Calling people SJWs and discounting their opinions is a twisted right wing form of identity politics... the same kind of identity politics you are complaining about.

  54. Protest may be the quintessential defining American Act. Think back to the Boston Tea party and how the king of England surely saw it as an affront to his rule.

  55. LD,
    The Boston Tea Party was not directed against the King , in fact it supported the King. The tea dumped into Boston Harbour belonged to the East India Company and the ship carrying the tea flew the flag of the East India Company.
    The tea was untaxed and represented the fact that the East India Company had a liquidity problem and was able to get a high tax levied on everybody else's tea.
    The Boston Tea Party was more the ability of the big corporations to initiate something like the bank and auto bailouts than protest the King's government.
    Real history shows George III to be a rather benign and well liked monarch despite the prophyria. The Boston Tea Party had overwhelming support from Montreal's tea merchants despite the unquestioned loyalty to the Crown here in Canada.
    If the Boston Tea Party is the quintessential defining act of American political philosophy than the 20th century Tea Party is quintessentially anti-American. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against a large independent corporate entity destroying its competition because it could. In 1773 the East India Company was much more powerful than even the British government and controlled over half the globe.

  56. He is free to protest while on his own time. the question here is a political demonstration he staged at his place of work.

  57. I can't go around my workplace espousing my political views so i don't see why that is any different for Colin despite his good intentions. Same goes for the Google engineer who was fired for sending around a memo regarding his views on gender differences. You can say mostly whatever you want legally but there are consequences for your actions. If Colin had common sense he would have predicted this is what would have happened and he should accept that getting another job would be the consequence.

  58. That is a legitimate point, provided that his employer (NFL owner) told him not to do it. Did that occur?

    On the other hand, it is also a free speech issue. Does his contract require him to to stand and cross his heart during the anthem? Some may even argue it is a submissive, infantile thing to do.

  59. NFL policy is that players are encouraged but not required to stand for the national anthem. So I say kneel away if he felt that was right. Are there consequences for his actions? Sure. Whether or not one agrees with Collin's views and his possible motivations and methods of expressing them, we would do well to remember that many in this country have historically suffered severe and often unjust consequences for having the audacity to speak the truth.

  60. Diana,
    I live in a liberal democracy. We have laws regarding hate speech but we are a real democracy and Colin Kaepernick would be widely applauded for expressing his very REAL concerns about justice in his society. We have problems in Canada especially with regards to past and present treatment of our aboriginal community but I have lost track of the number of truth and reconciliation commissions taking place.
    Mr Kaepernick is not calling for revolution he is calling for truth. Socrates was forced to drink hemlock and Jesus was hung on a cross surely we have moved beyond the knee jerk obedience to our very human leaders.
    I think I take my greatest pride in being a Canadian in the fact that a Gorsuch, Alito, Scalia or Thomas will never be allowed to besmirch the reputation of our Supreme Court.

  61. Unless Kaepernick was contractually obligated to observe the national anthem, he is within his rights to express some individuality and show his concern about today's pressing issues.

    NFL is hardly in a position to complain, as they have been handsomely compensated by the taxpayer for staging patriotic rituals.

    https://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/13/at-n-f-l-games-patriotis...

  62. No, you are wrong. Fundamentally Kaepernick is an employee. Employers are not required to itemize a list of objectionable behaviors. Employers are required to warn about objectionable behavior, but if the objectionable behavior continues the employer is within management right to fire the employee. First Amendment right do not extend into the workplace.

  63. The standard NFL contract, as approved by the players union, provides that "the player agrees to conduct himself on and off the field with appropriate recognition of the fact that the success of professional football depends largely on public respect for and approval of those associated with the game. ,,, if Player has engaged in personal conduct reasonably judged by Club to adversely affect or reflect on Club,
    then Club may terminate this contract.

  64. While Kaepernick did a laudable thing, it may not have been the wisest in terms of his ability to play the sport and spread his message. While his heart is in the right place, he is, as a football player an entertainer and there was probably a clause in his contract that gave his employers the right to fire him if he became a liability, or a distraction in terms of speech or behavior.

    Not standing for the national anthem, while attention getting, was bound to be so controversial and deeply disturbing for some fans, that the 49ers didn't have much of a choice but to fire him. If Kaeprnik had chosen some other way to speak out, he have reached a wider audience and still had his job.

  65. Ah. I see. So using his platform to highlight the continued extreme injustice and murders of black people solely because of their race was ill-considered, in your view. I would be quite curious to see your ideas on better ways to protest effectively so as to reach a wider audience.

    It may be of some surprise to you to know that money is not a substitute for being able to look yourself in the mirror while your people are subjugated and killed if you take no action.

  66. Kaepernick wasn't fired, he opted out of the last year of his contract and hasn't been picked up by another team.

  67. CK has the right to kneel.

    There are many things that are wrong and should be addressed..
    I don't think kneeling is an effective way of bringing about those changes.
    Support of moderates will be needed to bring about these changes.
    Moderates will be turned off by kneeling.
    Many football fans [who are probably conservative]will also be turned off.
    I think CK should find a more effective means of bringing about the changes he wants.

  68. For decades, the press has demanded that black quarterbacks be over-represented in the NFL, even ones as ineffective as Kaepernick, who has a 3-16 record as a starter over the last two seasons.

    In contrast, Bill Belichick of the Patriots quietly searches out white receivers underrated due to racial bias and wins Super Bowls.

    Funny how that works.

  69. In sports, there is the "talent-distraction model": if a player's talent outweighs the amount of distraction that they bring to the team, the player is kept by the team. However, if the player brings more distraction than skill to their club, they are cut. Examples of this include the Minnesota Vikings keeping Adrian Peterson during his child abuse scandal and Tim Tebow being cut by the Broncos/Jets/Patriots when he could be a serviceable backup.

    There is no doubt that Kaepernick is better than some QBs currently employed in the NFL, however, in an issue as newsworthy and divisive as kneeling during the national anthem, it is easy to see why he remains unemployed.

  70. Great article! Having grown up in the 1960s, with Muhammad Ali as my hero, Colin's detractors remind me of the people who kept calling Ali Cassius Clay long after he changed his name to Ali, and who supported the forces that caused him to sit out some of the best years of his boxing career. We will never know how great a football player Colin could be for the same reason we will never know how great a boxer Ali could have been. Both put principle ahead of the sports they excelled at. What we do know is that Colin, like Ali, is a person of great character and integrity. They both represent what is best in us and both are leading us to a fairer and more just future. History is on their side.

  71. Maybe a little distinction here: Ali wasn't a player on an NFL Team!

  72. Boycott the NFL and the games. If they think they can stop this I think the owners have a lot to learn.

  73. There's at least one other very good reason to boycott the NFL: it's bad for brains.

  74. I applaud this country for encouraging Kaepernick and others to voice whatever they want to and in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution. Kaepernick has surely done that.

    I also applaud the owners of the NFL teams to exercise their rights, for whatever reasons they have, not to hire Kaepernick. If anyone believe that their favorite NFL team failed to hire Kaepernick because of his race, then that fan can exercise his right not to support that team.

    All of this is what makes America great. Except, of course, any racial reason for making any decision. The sooner that reasoning becomes eliminated the soon America will demonstrate its true promise.

  75. I gave up on the NFL years ago since commercials make the game unwatchable. That the 49ers are so bad makes the decision an easy one. And, of course, the Warriors satisfy every Bay area sports fans dreams so no problem.

    Colin is a much more complex person than I realized. Thanks to the author for this fine article. I'm not black, but I am a student of history, so I can appreciate how he's come to what he believes. In truth, I've read many of the books included in the list given to Colin. Slavery is surely this country's greatest sin and we are far from prepared to atone for either slavery or what came after it. I've seen photos of lynchings with white folks holding their picnics beneath the hanging black body. Often the lynching took place near the courthouse where Civil War statues now stand. Frankly, it is difficult for me to believe any American can be ignorant of what has transpired over the decades. "Separate but equal" education was always a charade that lived alongside separate drinking fountains, taking food at the back door of the restaurant and sitting at the rear of the bus. It really is time to let go of the Rebel flags and the statues of Robert E. Lee. Colin may have a much more important role to play during his life than simply throwing a football. I respect him for his advocacy and wish him well as he goes forward in life.

  76. Colin Kaepernick
    3 words: Model human being.

    Thank you, Colin, for your decency and courage.

  77. I love Colin Kaepernick. I'm grateful for his influence on our nation and on the world.

  78. I feel sorry for Kaepernick. He thought he took the easy way to get his point across. Far easier to simply sit during the anthem while your teammates and everyone else is standing than using the common procedures to address the nation. He could've called a press conference, issued a press release or organized other NFL players into a coalition that would have strong voice. But, what he did, did provid him with a national soap box. He then told his followers not to vote in the 2016 election. In fact, he prides himself in never registering to vote. That means he didn't vote for Obama in either election. I wonder if his call to abstain made a difference in who was elected? I guess he didn't think HRC would be on his side. In fact, can't you visualize her telling policemen to mistreat prisoners.

    But it's far easier to stay seated rather than registering to vote.

  79. The only thing this guy has done of note in a football uniform is kneel down for The National Anthem. He has had more than his fifteen minutes so let's move on already. He could have played it different and spread his message farther to reach more like minded people but now he is done as is his platform.

  80. so leading a team to a super bowl is not considered to be "of note"?

  81. Frankly, this country has moved away from its tradition of protest and individual rights to crowd mentality and identity politics. This country is born out of protest and self-determination. As far as I see, Kaepernick is trying to remind us of of some lost American traditions, and I support his constitutional right.

    Disclaimer: I am not really a sports fan nor can I remember the last time I watched a professional football game.

  82. What this article does is provide great context for Mr Kaepernick's actions. It doesn't matter whether I approve of or agree with Colin's methods and content of protest--that is irrelevant.
    Who cares if he is hero or villain? Who cares if he plays another down in the NFL? What is important is this young man is on his own journey to realize his own self, shine a light on the powerless and voiceless, and in the process lift up others less fortunate.
    Going against the grain, backing up his convictions by writing checks, and not spouting endlessly in an age of media saturation are rare and admirable qualities. Regardless of public opinion, he has become a nonviolent agent of change and they don't make pads big enough for those type of shoulders.

  83. For all the respondents that claim that they would similarly run afoul of their employers for overtly expressing their political or religious views - I suspect your employer does not make you stand for the national anthem when you show up at the office. Sports leagues and owners have co-opted the national anthem for their purposes (benign or noble as those may be). It strikes me as one-sided to claim that while ownership gets to claim the anthem for their own public symbolic reasons, their employees are cannot do the same.

  84. It is nice to know that Mr Kapernick will have a fulfilling life even if he never plays another down. As for those who have commented that he should not be able to make a political statement at his workplace, that might be an arguable point, but the greedy one percenter trumpists of the NFL have not made that particular argument. Might affect the bottom line.
    It is telling that polls show that NFL fans are more concerned about national anthem protests than they are about brain injuries,and that Jerry Jones, who questions the science behind the studies was just elected to the hall of fame.
    Don't watch.

  85. During WWII at a time when most of us had no idea how well we were doing in the war, when blue star and gold star pendants were in windows throughout the neighborhood, we kids went to patriotic assemblies every week at school. We sang patriotic songs and listened to upbeat speakers who were there to convince us that we would certainly win this war. The assemblies would end with our purchasing 10¢ or 25¢ stamps for our war bond booklets. Patriotism became imbedded in all of us. A good many of us became veterans of future wars in our own right.

    Move the clock ahead a few years where many of us there in California became diehard San Francisco 49er fans. Now imagine our shock and disgust as we watched as our hero quarterback refused to stand for our national anthem.

    I'm sure many young folks will see Colin Kaepernick as an unfairly mistreated hero after reading this article. There's nothing I can do about that. But for those of us (at least most of us) still remaining who lived through WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and Afghanistan, there's no way we'll ever see anything honorable about this guy, regardless of his current efforts at attempting to retrieve that honor.

  86. And how were African American veterans treated after WW ll, and other wars.

  87. Your No True Scotsman line is shallow, and does not speak for all of us who have served. The 49ers were my home town team as well, and I couldn't have been more favorably impressed in his stand on ethics and justice, in full knowledge of the consequences. I saw an example in courage to live a principle at cost, and that is the highest calling of the service.

    Reflexively rallying to a flag and demonizing any critique was among the worst of what came with service. Speak to you own disgust, but don't lump all veterans in with your scorn.

  88. I have felt that many vets have conflated symbols of America with the country itself. You fought for our country, and thank you for your service, not the flag or the anthem. Kaepernick is a patriot too, with his own brand of courage. Contrary to what many believe, protesting, particularly individual protest, is very frightening and requires strong beliefs and the willingness to stand behind them. Kaepernick knew when he took a knee that many veterans would hate him, and many Americans would see his action as dishonorable. Still, he persisted. I admire him for it.

  89. Thank you for this article. I didn't know much about Kaepernick before, and now I can say he is a good guy.

    I read some comments to this article that say he was wrong for espousing political views in the job. I do not read anything that says he did that. All he did was refrain from standing for the national anthem. The NFL does not require players to stand. He did not make a big deal of it. It was reporters who saw it and made a story of it.

  90. What I love most about what he did is cause a moral chemical "bubbling" of thought and conversation to occur. This helped to effect change in an area that is far bigger and more purposeful than an NFL game. It helped to expose more of that hidden thinking that most people sweep under the rug. Sure his personal career is at stake, but he knows that. Probably the only thing he's worried about is how he can now keep enough money coming to make a bigger impact on his organizations. So given his higher purpose of racial equality, equal value and treatment of people of color in this country ... I'd say he did pretty well. Go Kaepernick!

  91. It may not have been the best thing for his football career, and it may make people uncomfortable because the issue he brings up is real but few want to acknowledge it, but I say "well done Colin". He stood up for an injustice and had a lot to lose by doing so that makes the gesture that much more noble. It's only the glib patriots out there who were offended.

  92. I think I may have it. The solution to the problem with the national anthem for Colin Kaepernick. So, if you have his attention, point him this way.

    The key, and thank you Francis Scott for it, is a question mark that’s been hiding in plain sight for 214 years.

    Think of the last line of the anthem (as we sing it before ball games, anyway.) It is written, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

    It’s literally a question.

    A question Mr. Key asks us across time. Does that beauty of a flag still wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave? People of America-future, are you yet free? Are you still brave?

    Kaepernick, for his part, isn’t compelled to assume that the answer is known. He can wonder. He can doubt. The question mark allows him.

    He could do that while standing. Better yet, while singing.

    So, sing out that question, Colin! Do it pleadingly. Achingly. Give it your all with wonder and doubt down to the bottom of your heart.

    And then play ball.

  93. We agree that Kaepernick's freedom of speech is undisputed, however expressing his views on company time is in poor taste.
    Professionally we represent our company and all interactions on the clock should be focused on business only.
    There are numerous forums available to convey his protests.
    Please, I tune in to the games to relax and be entertained on my downtime, not to hear about an unhappy athlete.

  94. Does your company make you pledge allegiance to the flag before you start work? Probably not.

  95. No they don't, but millions of viewers are not tuned in when I start my day.

  96. I am not a fan of professional football but am a huge fan of Colin Kaepernick. He's a real American sports hero.

  97. I consider myself a good American, but I also consider Kaepernick a good American. I would not have the guts to do what Kaepernick has done.He has paid a big price for standing up for what he believes will make American better. Too many people think waving the flag or having two flags outside your car is what makes you a good citizen. No way. Fighting for what you believe is really the heart of what makes a good American.

  98. And many others have paid a price with their lives so he can take a knee and not show respect to symbol of our freedoms.

  99. Speak your truth as best as you can make sense of it,
    no matter what the cost.
    No matter who hears, or refuses to hear.
    Use the opportunities and the voice you are given to shine a light on what is good and decent and real,
    and also what is broken, and ugly, and unjust.
    Do your best to be as brave, and as humble, and as grateful as you can be.
    Those who rise above the status quo, who swim not with the current but to where the truth is, will always face opposition from those who want to quiet it down, look the other way, pass the buck, kick the can.
    You get just this one life.
    If Colin Kaepernick never throws another pass as a professional player, he will still be a hero. That much more of a hero. A real human being.
    I hated when he scrambled for so many yards against my beloved Packers. But I didn't know the man then.
    Proud to know him now.

    Thanks for the excellent reporting in this sea of knee-jerk misinformation.
    People of real and rare conscience deserve nothing less.

  100. I support Colin and he should have a team. There must be collusion or perhaps even an unconscious conspiracy to keep him off a team right now among the team owners. the must fear what his possible continued statements both said and unsaid might mean to their bottom line. They're wrong.

    The form of Colin's protest is one of the most American displays of what this country is about and what we should be paying attention to I have ever seen. I think the last several months in this country have demonstrated that all too well.

    I support Colin. Period.

  101. The Kaepernick story is more complex than has been presented here. Starting quarterbacks get a lot of leeway. Michael Vick served his two years for cruelty to animals and was given every chance to succeed. Jameis Winston was accused of rape and his jersey is near the top in sales, And all the misconduct Ben Roethslebeger has engaged in hasn't changed the fact that he is widely admired for his aggressive style of play.

    When Kaepernick appeared to be the next big thing in quarterbacks, his unconventional style. posed no problem. But it turned out that Kaepernick's successful style of play proved transient. And he became a back-up. The role of a back is much different than that of a starter. The best back-ups work hard to get whatever minutes they can. They're supportive of the starters and the rest of their team. Those who are a unifying force are highly valued. Controversial back ups like Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith and Tim Tebow do not last long in the league. Kaepernick iis one of the most controversial back ups. He could have gotten away with this as a starter. As a back-up, it's a whole different thing.

  102. While you're at it naming names of football players, please consider the continued worship of Kobe Bryant, complete with his paid Nike endorsement, as he walked away from a rape charge by settling out of court.

  103. Kaepernick didn't seem to start this "activism" until it was clear that he was a has-been player. The fact that he hasn't been hired is being spun in racist tones, while it is more likely that, as a business, a franchise doesn't want to hire a less than stellar player.

    What's the average age of a NFL player?

  104. Considering the damage playing football does to the brain the NFL is doing Kaepernick a favor. He has a great mind and a unique perspective. Best of luck to him.

  105. Perhaps the fault lies with an organization (NFL, etal) that suppresses the democratic right of freedom of expression. Why does this individual who sincerely felt the need to call attention to an American issue that was being sidelined, have to support the hypocrisy. His action was courageous for an individual who put everything on the line.

    I commend Mr. Kapernick and wish him well.

  106. Why should sitting, standing or otherwise expressing a desire to see that the guarantees of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and laws of this nation be equally applied to all citizens be seen as "divisive"? The fact that it is characterized as such is the real problem in America. And, what does the national anthem have to do with sports anyway. And, what about the fact that it is a racist song? To force anyone to accept lesser treatment than all others when the obligations are the same is enslavement. Colin is not a slave and he is standing with millions of others who, like him, refuse to settle any longer for anything other than first class citizenship.

  107. Whichever NFL team signs Kaepernick, they will then become my favorite team.

  108. anyone who thinks Clinton is cut from the same cloth as Trump as Kap claims during the Presidential elections is not worthy of emulating. DIdn't he say "they are all racist" in reference to the candidates. He seems to be attracting attention to himself and not any particular cause. I realize there is internal bias and a all to military police force in this country in certain regions but he is not the solution.

  109. I believe he will go down as the sports icon of my generation. Winning Super Bowls don't make you live forever; statements of true power, do.

  110. He has a right to protest. I have a right to judge him for what he protests and how he goes about it.

  111. Perhaps it really boils down to Attention Deficit Disorder. He just never got enough attention growing up.

  112. That's not what ADD is

  113. Action and re-action. Perfectly understandable.

    Colin should retire go to work for the NAACP.

  114. He already spends a great deal of time on issues important to the NAACP . Why should he need to quit football to to raise awareness of discrimination ?

  115. Football was one of the last things America had left that we could all agree on.
    Black, white, rich, poor, left, right, on fall Sundays we could put of our differences aside and just cheer for our team.

    Then Kaepernick protested a major symbol of our country, and suddenly football became just as divided as everything else. I hate that.

    I want know how Kaep disrespecting a major symbol of the country is accomplishing anything positive. The movement he portends to represent is already replete with vague ideals, what it needs is concrete objective, of which Kaep offered none. All he did was virtue signal his way to the unemployment line, and put us at each other's throats in the process.

  116. He didn't raise his arm in defiance, he didn't turn his back on the flag/anthem, he knelt in silent acknowledgement that we are still missing something in our less than perfect union. I scorn the NFL owners who are spineless and without character. They would be lucky to have a player with conviction like Kaepernick on their team. They are too stupid to know it.

  117. Kaepernick: "Prominent", "divisive", "activist" . . . and unemployed. Let's keep it that way.

    Show your politics other than in your workplace.

    And don't disrespect our flag, anywhere, any time. Whatever your politics: The flag symbolizes not a political position. Rather it honors the -- literally -- millions who died in service to our country. And personally: My adopted homeland.

  118. The flag represents a country that was born out of protest. There is nothing more patriotic than protesting.

  119. I wonder if Colin ever met Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Two athletes who might have something to say to each other. Heroes beyond their games.

  120. Kaepernick clearly is working out major identity issues. Does anybody believe he was really laughing when questioned as a child about whether he belonged with his family? That memory should make us aPersonally I don't see his national anthem protest as the most effective way to make his point, but I'm not him.

  121. What a tragedy the story of Colin Kaepernick will go down as. A man criticized for making a political statement, an important one at that, with the world watching. Some said he did not "grow up black", so what place was he in to make such a gesture? Others said it wasn't the time or the place, and many took it as an attack on the US Armed Forces. All heavy criticisms. All widely missing the mark. A black man standing up to racial injustice and systemic discrimination has the freedom to do so as and when he pleases. His actions were not a "nuisance", they were necessary. The decline of his career and marketability are risks he was well aware of when he took the knee, and he did so anyway. Kaepernick said himself, "this is bigger than football", and he is absolutely correct. Systemic racism is a stain on this country, and the idea of ridiculing and punishing people of color who speak up for themselves and others like them is radically out of place. I relate this move of Kaepaernick;s to Beyonce's performace of "Formation" at the 2016 Superbowl for several reasons. Here we have two famous, black individuals using the nation's biggest platform, professional football, to make social commentary. They knew who their audience was. They knew what the critics would say. It didn't matter, it shouldn't matter. Making a difference is more important. Sparking a wider conversation is more important. Kaepernick may have sacrificed his career. Beyonce lost radio airplay. They did it anyway.

  122. I'm a white football fan who is thrilled that CK has the guts to speak out about racism. There are few avenues for constructive dissent available for this topic. I admire his courage in the face of the football machine.

    Every spineless leader, team owner, fan or casual observer who tries to compel us to remain silent is complicit in keeping people of color one down. CK is extraordinary in his willingness to appear a fool. He is simply calling attention to a national disgrace - man's inhumanity to men of another color.

    Keeping him out of football is the owners folly. I hope he continues to fight for what is right.

  123. I'll wager had Kaepernick won the Super Bowl he would still be playing in the NFL. None of this would matter. He sits during the National Anthem and people get their knickers in a twist. Other players get arrested for domestic violence and they get a pass. Go figure.

  124. Kaepernick's gesture's during the National Anthem are contrary to the NFL's political history - an NFL that - along with other pro sports teams - were paid in excess of 50 million dollars by the U.S Military in the last decade to display what seemed to be heartfelt and honest consideration for military service and not as it turns out to have been - product placement. That practice has been said to have stopped in the last year.

    But this young man's honest and personal gesture which calls attention to the complexity of issues of patriotism in a country that, at best, deserve serious moral questioning in its domestic racial history - gets him essentially blackballed from playing in the NFL. Some teams (and one NYT commenter) might say such a player would disrupt a team - hence he's not worth the trouble, hence he's not really been blackballed (just not hired). Did I misread the article? Was he not voted by his teammates their highest honor - the Len Eshmont award “for inspirational and courageous play.” That's a man I want on my team.

    But it won't be an easy time for him - teams only take risks on wife beating, drug using, gun yielding men they believe they can rehabilitate - and frankly I admire teams for taking chances with those men. Of course to take in a man who has a deep rooted feeling about injustice - now that might too big a risk - you can't rehabilitate ethical and moral questioning. It's much easier to ignore it.

  125. He can do as he pleases, however, why is the national anthem a part of a game played in a private league by millionaires on teams owned by billionaires? It's a sporting event not a patriotic event.

  126. Kaepernick's simple protest generated discussions that will exist for years to come, especially with the rise of the alt-right and black lives matter movements. Broadcasters and sport journalists, even football fans, derided his efforts as a player brushed off his demonstration by justifying his poor stats. Unlike his critics, Kaepernick's actions speak louder than words.

  127. I would have assumed that the operative part of being a "sports social activist" was being involved in sports.

  128. This is a nice distraction for the NFL that is ruining its players' brains.

    Why does football have to be rah, rah? When I go see my college team play they run onto the field waving an American flag as if the opposing team is from Russia. As if the team has a higher purpose than raking in millions of dollars for business of university sports.

  129. Not since Cassius Clay. An American athlete with true courage and conviction.

  130. An American athlete with true courage and conviction, Pat Tillman.

  131. Ali could win titles.

  132. Please add to your list my personal favorite, Arthur Ashe, who broke the color barrier in the South African Open in 1973.

  133. Did Mr. Kaepernick have no idea for whom he was working? Yes, he had every right to do and say what he did, and the owners have every right not to employ him. I'm glad to learn that he earned a degree, it will come in handy in his next career. I wish him well.

  134. Many people throughout history have chosen to speak out about injustices they perceive. In so doing you accept the price of voicing publicly, especially if you do this while being paid to do a job. Everyone has freedom of choice as do you but in making that decision you may suffer adversity. That is what happens when you draw attention to you and not your team. I agree with his view, not his action. He could've demonstrated on his time and still have a career.

  135. Let's be the clear; the man is not divisive or controversial ~ just the headlines generated by the press and the people that want him to buckle to their will.

    Americans are granted the protections of the 1st Amendment. ( that is also why it was\is the first and probably the most important.

    Ask yourself ~ if a white player was doing and saying the same things in relation to the injustices ( perceived or real ) that were being perpetrated by black people, would there be as much '' controversy ''

    Seems to me that has been the case since time began.

  136. The First Amendment again! What is it with you people?

    The First Amendment protects Kapernick's legal right to express himself in ugly, foolish and insulting way -- and he has used that right to do the wrong thing.

  137. Agree 100%

  138. If you protest and stick your head out be ready that not everybody is happy. Sports is foremost entertainment and if you disturb this thin veneer of communality (making money) you will pay for it. To pay a small price you have to be a really good athlete and Colin just isn't.

  139. While Kap has lately done some noble causes, sometimes his ways to the means are suspect. Between his Castro T shirt, pigs sox, and his " look at me" approach of kissing biceps, Harpo haircut and headphones around neck at pressers, I believe he quietly enjoys the spotlight in a subtle way. Not that it is bad for a star quarterback to do, that's what and who they are, stars. Just believe his noble traits has come a bit too late .
    Add his Angela Davis 2.0 girlfriend who likes to stir to pot ,in a aggressive way that would shy away the conservative old owners who see Kap and his baggage maybe a. it too much go answer to the same white ticket holders who owners would need to answer to. All in all Kapernick has been dealt a bad hand, but he also has kept the wrong cards in hand to have the " winning hand".

  140. We need more people like Colin Kaperneak. To the people putting him down : what are you doing to stop the reprehensible daily injustice against and outright murder of people of color in this country? The only question in my mind is why there aren't more like him doing the same thing. Everyone else is keeping quiet and looking after themselves.

  141. Mr Kaepernick's show of support for a just cause would be more readly accepted if he did it without disrespecting the very thing that allows him to be disrespectful.

  142. I suspect many Roman Catholics, as well as many Anglicans, would be surprised to learn that kneeling on one knee -- also known as genuflecting -- is a gesture of disrespect. For this Anglican, it is a posture of profound respect.

  143. Comments like this show that people like you don't really get what the issue is about, and as long as that continues, I think Kaepernick and his friends should continue to take a kneel

  144. So because his message isn't being persuasive, and only reaching people who are already in agreement with him, he needs to just keep doing what he's already doing even though it is not effectively persuading people who "don't really get what the issue is about"?

    That's CRAZY. This is my problem with liberal people: they want to talk about things the way they want to talk about them, and blame people who aren't already in their way of thinking for not following their way of thinking. It's like they have no tolerance for people expecting them to get out of their bubble and reach, proselytize, and convert.

    God. Liberal policies and social views are so excellent, and they have SUCH BAD MESSENGERS. "You just don't get me and what I'm trying to tell you, so I'm going to say it slower, louder, and even more condescendingly because THAT'S going to work." Riiiiight.

  145. With all due respect to Mr. Kaepernick, his martyrdom isn't effective for a few reasons.

    The first of these is his lucrative financial position: being an NFL quarterback for a major sports team is the epitome of the financial 1%: leagues ahead of most anyone of any color.

    The second of these is his general notoriety. He's veering into Bono territory: someone who's too famous, too wealthy, and too broadly insulated by all that his wealth, celebrity, and status brings to ever credibly claim "oppressed." Would that a poor lesbian mother of color in the inner Baltimore ghetto should have such access to his level of money, fame, esteem, and respect. There's nothing more ridiculous than seeing the untouchable making a grand spectacle of their oppression when they don't have any skin in the game (to turn a sports phrase).

    Instead of worshipping someone who is the epitome of the 1% for his bravery to act oppressed, why don't we focus our lenses on the actual every day people who are susceptible to the harm from oppression. Kaepernick is insulated by his vast salary and gets intense media coverage; that lesbian of color in the Baltimore ghetto prays her money lasts the week.

    Instead of acting the martyr, his wiser course of action from the get-go would be to stop acting righteously indignant (which feels hollow coming from his position of wealth) and instead seek to persuade. Being a petulant rich person isn't persuasive, whatever his color.

  146. What makes you say that Kaepernick sees himself as oppressed or that he acts the martyr? I've seen nothing in his behavior to indicate he isn't fully aware of his blessings and rather than acting the martyr he puts his money into giving back. Your response is full of ad hominem attacks that seem disconnected from the article we are all presumably responding to.

  147. I think the point is pretty clear: people are turned off by wealthy people making grand spectacles of their oppression.

    Rabbi Jesus, one of the greatest of liberals, said it best: "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matt 6:5-6)

    If you want to know why Mr. Kaepernick's actions have been so polarizing, it's what Rabbi Jesus comments on: people are turned off by overly show-boating displays of public preaching. Rabbi Jesus' warning is against arrogance, and it is intensely arrogant to make a spectacle of yourself standing up for a cause that is way bigger than you. It's hubris to do so when you stand up for a cause that you just don't live through: his financially insulated position and public fame bar him from any credible claim to speak authentically about the oppression he decries.

    It's ad hominem in that it questions his qualifications as a messenger for the cause, and explains why his grand statement is met with so much push back. I don't think anyone disputes the broader importance of discussing racial justice; I do think discussing his own questionable position to preach the message is valid, even if it could be construed as ad hominem.

  148. Congratulations to Colin Kaepernick for living his life on his terms, supporting youth groups with his philanthropy, and being true to his own beliefs. I wonder how many more NFL players would kneel if they knew the national anthem was written by a slave owner? Francis Scott Key owned slaves and strongly opposed the Abolitionists. The Star Spangled Banner's melody is from an English drinking song honoring the Greek drinking song poet Anacreon. It's exponentially disturbing that 7 NFL owners actually contributed a million dollars to the presidential campaign of the racist, misogynistic, serial lying, and epitome of policy ignorance, Donald Trump. When football commentators like Boomer Esiason criticize Colin Kaepernick's behavior, they are apparently oblivious to the ignorant irony they display, by referring to the exercise of the First Amendment, as "disrespectful". No one has the right to impose their personal interpretation or meaning of the National Anthem on anyone else, in America we have something called freedom of expression.

  149. Confused?

    Just because Kaepernick's actions are protected by the Constitution doesn't make them right. Kaepernick was in effect giving the finger to tens of thousands of people. The First Amendment cannot cleanse the taint of that action. Face it, the guy's a creep.

  150. Americans and especially the NFL and writers and media publishers need to remember the '43, 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. Barnette, which forever separated the concept of free speech and religion in America , and made the refusal to swear allegiance to the flag or such other symbol, to be the business not of schools, colleges or even , I would presume, of NFL owners who may believe they control most of the rest of American society. Maybe they do but Justice Jackson's majority opinion, gave the right to make this decision to individuals, and no one else.
    Besides, I never liked American football anyway.Much better way to spend your time is on your butt, not praying and swearing blood oaths to pieces of cloth.

  151. Well, you didn't like American football anyway?

  152. Hats off to Kaepernick. The problem, however, is not so much the protest as it is the blinders of the Right and the mostly conservative owners of NFL teams. Simply put they see nothing wrong with the US of A, and any protests calling into question their long-held and often strident beliefs about the greatness and rightness of America will be resisted. For an example look no farther than the current AG, Jeff Sessions, who sees absolutely nothing wrong with the various police departments in the US contrary to the persuasive evidence of considerable malfeasance . . . it is also what compels mostly white juries to exonerate the white killers of black men in the face of compelling (video) evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately such views have proven impermeable to evidence and facts and no amount of protesting or refusing to stand for the national anthem will change that . . .

  153. The hypocrisy of Mr. Kaepernick's critics is breathtaking. How many NFL fans, watching from their couches, ever stand up during the anthem? Precious few. Most never even put their beer down.

    Yet they want this man to stand up and make a show of patriotism for them. Why? Mostly they're angry that reality has intruded on their sacred Sunday ritual. This statement by another NY Times commenter is typical of their mindset: "People go to see professional sports as a relief from the stresses of politics ..."

    Truly, professional football has become the opium of the masses.

  154. One man quietly took a knee and continues to prompt no end of mouth foaming character assassinations, mostly plainly based in racist psychological projections. Seven men gave millions of dollars to help a loud-mouthed racist and narcissist become president, and it gets at worst some mild head shaking.

    For those of you "fans" who think the NFL is and has been politically pure, and somehow deserves to retain that facade of purity, it's time to grow up: this country needs you to take citizenship and community as seriously as you take your team merch. and stats.

  155. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”.

    Kaepernick's contract was reported to have a maximum value of $126 million and a record $61 million in guaranteed money. Apparently, in his disdain for his country, he has made an exception that covers the greenbacks printed by that country, his pledge to give away a whopping 1.6% of his guaranteed money, notwithstanding.

  156. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”.
    So he's not gonna stand for the flag of any African country or Arab country right?

  157. Got a problem with chump change? Look at the likes of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch's in support of a Fascist president and his Fascist staff. That's where the problems in America emanate from. Kaepernick gives to those who are helping improve the lives of Americans not subjugate them to the likes of the KKK.

  158. He doesn't distain his country.

  159. What exactly changed in the United States that Kaepernick is willing to stand for the anthem? Seems to me he found activism when his career was stalling and tried to use that as a shield to not get fired. It's not hard to look up for grass roots SJW organizations and write a 25000 check when you're a millionaire. At least now, hopefully, people will realize that American flag is not a protest object. Good riddance to Kaepernick.

  160. This logic is woeful. Maybe you should try again.

  161. Karpernak is a super intelligent human being. He is also a very talented football player. I find it sad, at the very least, that the owners, coaches, etc. will not hire him due to his expression of his beliefs. Well... football is just a silly brain damaging game. Kaepernak has so much more to offer the world than playing football has to offer him.

  162. But at the end of it all- too many good men and women have fought and, scarified in defense of that flag for me to think well of Kaepernick.

    He's not a hero. He's just a townsman of a stiller town.

  163. I've been gobsmacked at the level of discriminatory outrage sparked by a young football player's simple, silent non-violent protest.

    That he's taking a stand against white cops killing blacks is understandable, reasonable and logical. Everyone should be so concerned. Anyone here want to raise their hand to deny that's been happening too often in the U.S.?

    Better that this intellectual young man continue to go where his curiosity takes him, grow his wisdom, and be the generous the giver he is to underserved charities. Maybe, write a book to share his journey as did another young black man, Barrack Obama with "Lessons from my Father."

    Sometimes, things work out exactly as they were meant to be. Kaepernick may mercifully be spared the concussive brain injury recently found by researchers in 110 or 111 former NFL players' brains.

    He may live a long life as a thinker and a teacher. He may find a way to make his free camps for children a lasting tradition, one that spreads to many communities.

    At camp, Kaepernick teaches kids they have Ten Rights: "the right to be free, healthy, brilliant, safe, loved, courageous, alive, trusted, educated and to know my rights."

    I can't think of anything more worthwhile.

  164. Kaepernick is a hero. the NFL is already highly politicized and militarized. the Star Spangled Banner was written by an apologist for slavery and ends to be discarded.

    This guy is a highly intelligent, committed and effective American in the very best sense of the word, a true patriot. More power to him and those who support him. And shame, as always, on the greed-driven concussive NFL and all its reactionary billionaire owners.

  165. Wasn't the star-spangled banner the flag under which almost 400,000 Union soldiers (almost all of them white) laid down their lives so that slavery could be abolished?

  166. I was and am a fan of Kaepernick as a Forty Niner fan. I had no objection to his protest. That, however, is not what I wish to address. Both he and former president Obama are half white, yet neither he nor the former president see themselves as anything other than African American. In fact the whole country sees it that way. What does this say about America? That we see the taint of African blood above simple statistics and logic? If you flipped a coin that said white on one side and black on the other, how many of us would identify the coin as a black coin. Kaepernick relates how other people set him apart from his family when he was growing up. Race, prejudice and America are intertwined. This is not ending any time soon.

  167. Perhaps Obama and CK created a picture of themselves that others reacted to...no that other way around. The NY Times never referred to Obama as our first half-Black president. And if anyone played the race card better than Jessie Jackson it was Obama.

  168. Silly.
    Honestly biracial was touted for Obama but any biracial person that appears to be more black is viewed and treated as Black this is especially so for males. Both these men you mention were raised by white families, Obama's maternal grand parents and Kapernick by adoptive parents. IF you were unaware of their gene.pool how would YOU view them? Recall the biracial tennis player and how he was treated by NYPD. It was not until cell phones that many whites start to see the crude way cops sometimes behave in dealing with Black Americans and even with documented evidence lots of people leap to defend oor justify cop actions.

    seek out and hear the stories of biracial folk that look white, or a white man with children of color. It is eye opening.
    .

  169. In considering your words.. have you ever spoken with a white women that has black sons. she can tell you of the fears/worries. OR read about the mayor of NY he has biracial children ask him how the kids are treated, you can read it for yourself. NONE of these kids are denying or picking favorites they are dealing with reality.

  170. Great BEAUTIFUL article!

  171. I would have more respect for him if he had voted in November. He admits he did not.

  172. Your respect is useless. He is entitled to not vote, especially if he doesn't believe any of the candidates are capable of delivering the needed social change.

  173. Yeah. That's my litmus test for respect. If all the young "woke" activists were as eager to vote as they were to protest, things would be a lot different. Encouraging your fans to show up at the ballot box for everty election—city council, primary, off-year, presidential—is the best way to effect change.

  174. This makes me sad. Certainly the article shows he is thoughtful and deliberate. I would be really curious to know why he didn't, the full explanation. The length and depth of this article prove how much more interesting and nuanced the larger conversations can be. Why dismiss so flippantly?

  175. As far as I know, Kaepernick hasn't committed any of the offenses typical of the lumbering, low-brow brutes of the NFL. No domestic violence, no animal abuse, no gun play, no murder, no hazing of team mates.

    He seems to be willing to suffer the consequences of his beliefs without whining or painting himself as a victim.

    If his career in football is over at age 28, then so what?

    He's got a lot of living to do and he's shown he intends to do it honorably.

    Rock on, dude.

  176. Those lumbering low brow brutes, do not have a higher, in fact may be lower domestic violence record than any other group in same age bracket. We don't even need to talk about those one off offenses that again are career ending for non other than an African Man in, America, who loves to lynch the Black him. NFL playerss are poster boys for domestic violence complete with a 3 ring White Devils in a bue dress Emmett Till consultant circus, why? White Owners, White Policemen, White ESPN News Networks Corporate Execs and Commentators are widely known for their domestic violence, yet I don't see their employers having the right to set a parallel injustice system linking their jobs to any Chicken Head that loves to suck D, but calls rape/abuse when things don't go according to her rachette plan. Are there more gun play and murder than White NRA gun owners, yet it's just their 2nd Right protecting their 1st Right to freedom! Hazing of team mates, created, practiced, and learned from the best White boys will be boys in college. Never are those groups called lumbering low brow brutes. They are heroes, intelligent, smart cunning business men, patriots, good citizens, americans, president...Hmmmm...Critical Thinking

  177. @Third. Coast: Excellent points you have made. However. most important for CK is to remain employable and to find another starting quarterback job, and to avoid injury. Moreover, he should know that his annual salary as an NFL quarterback is more than the combined salaries of many west African soccer teams combined. This is really about team discipline more than anything else. Best players are often shunned by teams because they are hard to get along with.CK only has so many years left to play, and perhaps he should not squander them by such a silly gesture as kneeling when the National Anthem is played.Can he name a country better than the US?

  178. I think the writer meant to say that Colin recently took the GMAT not the GRE. (please either correct the article or me)

    I won't editorialize beyond that.

  179. This whole affair is extremely distressing to the American psyche. But, what makes this worthy of discussion is that it is also extremely costly to Kaepernick. This is not a knee-jerk slacktivist with little to lose. Rather, he has sacrificed (?) a lucrative career on principle. We should all be so strong.

  180. Thank you for doing this story. I'm not a football fan, so knew nothing about this man except that he refused to stand for the anthem and got reamed by the right for it. As someone else noted, he's far too bright a man to get his brain knocked about in the NFL - I look forward to hearing more about the good things he's doing.

  181. Perhaps some are angry that they were denied a job, promotion or admittance to a university due to affirmative action.
    Perhaps some are angry that OJ Simpson was acquitted.
    Perhaps some are angry that people like Al Sharpton were never held accountable for their race baiting.

    Should they take a knee as well?

  182. I suppose if they feel strongly enough about it.

  183. You stand for the National Anthem
    You respect the police
    You vote at election time
    You excel in your chosen field

    He didn't have an awakening
    He faced disappointment for the first time
    So he cried and lashed out

  184. How dare our millionaire entertainers have an opinion about anything? Gladiators are in the arena to entertain the audience and not make them feel uncomfortable. There is talk of football is a game and politics has no place here. In truth it is no one really wants to see how the sausage is made. Black Lives Matter really means Black Lives Should Matter Also. Since we as a nation can't come to grips with our institutionalized racism and the two tiered justice system we live under we have to destroy Kaepernick. Football is watched all over the world and how could we show the world that one of our Black Guys who have made it in not happy about the treatment of those who have not? Like cops can't bring themselves to ostracize bad cops we can't admit our justice system is not blind when dealing with people of color. We love our sports figures of color until we find out they have feelings.If all of the people who are feigning outrage about Kaepernick's action truly believed in liberty they would be defending his right to knell. it truly amazes me that so much attention is given to an event where you have guys running around in tights chasing a pigs skin. Its only a game! If we paid this much attention to the education of our kids just think how things would be?

  185. Kaepernick in 2020 makes sense.

  186. Colin Kaepernick Tim Tebow . Both brought personal beliefs to a sports field, wrongly.
    How sad,, those who support Kaepernick can't stand Tebow..Tebow supporters vilify Kaepernick.

  187. I'm kind of sentimental about the flag and the anthem, but I understand his reasons for refusing to stand. I will never, however, understand the current fad of resting one's hand near one's left shoulder during the song. Hand on heart? Have they no inkling of human anatomy? Do they not know the difference between reciting the pledge and singing the anthem?

  188. I'll read the article tomorrow. Late and I gotta sleep.

    But, even without reading this I know one thing.

    Kaepernick has rights granted by the Constitution and, according to Thomas Jefferson, by the Creator.
    Inalienable rights.
    Rights that come just by the fact that you pop out of your mama.

    Human rights.
    To express oneself, freely.

    You can disagree with Kaepernick.
    Of course.

    But how about respecting each other and realizing that this debate, this disagreement, this FREE expression, as we individually see fit is EXACTLY what the Founders wanted us to do and EXACTLY what it means to be an American.

    Your fellow American gets to express him/herself.
    And, you are their fellow American.
    See how nicely that works out?

    Show respect.
    Get respect.

    Lower the temperature.
    Honor each other.
    Love each other.

    And it will all be OK.
    It really will.
    It's the American way.

  189. Free to express his opinions as a private citizen, si. Whether he had the license as a professional football player, belonging to a team, which he did not own?

    Maybe he should have done himself many other people a favor and quit the team first.

    Lastly, his gesture was like one hand clapping. Had he executed a concomitant responsibility to call for non-violent protests in the wake of the deaths of black men, he might have cut himself some slack in the arena known as professional football.

    The thinnest pancake has two sides: perhaps a case of good initiative highly-questionable judgment.

  190. Does anyone think it's ok for police to kill blacks when use of deadly force was clearly unnecessary? Does anyone think that police who use deadly force without proper cause should not be charged with murder? Does anyone think the USA should become a police state, like the Soviet Union under Stalin or Red China under Mao?

    Kaepernick didn't think so. Neither do I. He thought the USA is better than this. So do I.

  191. 'They bathe their games in overtly patriotic ceremonies and discourage players, mostly hidden behind masks and uniforms of armor, from individual acts of showmanship.'

    I first read this as:

    'They bathe their games in overly patriotic ceremonies and discourage players, mostly hidden behind masks and uniforms of armor, from individual acts of showmanship.'

  192. Right or wrong, let him be!

  193. Lol. "He's a stand up guy". No, he's an un-American "not stand up" guy. The big loser never wore his country's uniform, (only true patriots have done that) for the only uniform he's ever worn is that of a child's game, football.

  194. Kaepernick is an allegory to what happens to those that don't vote.

  195. I support the guy. I also wonder why we pledge allegiance to the flag before professional sports games. Seems silly. Let's just get rid of the tradition.

  196. Jealousy. Those who criticize Colin Kaepernick do so if jealousy. Jealousy for the courage he demonstrated to stand up for what he believes regardless of the consequences.

    Few Americans would have the courage to jeopardize their future for what they believe. I admire Kaepernick's courage. He deserves the best.

  197. UNITED STATES CODE
    TITLE 36
    CHAPTER 10
    §176. Respect for flag
    (c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

    The NFL puts on pre-game and halftime shows in which a bunch of people surround a huge flag and hold it by its edges while carrying it flat and horizontally.

    What is the NFL protesting?

  198. Yet another athlete finds a creative way to mess up a high paying career.

  199. If his football career is truly over, due undoubtably to blacklisting, he will hopefully continue to have a productive and long life; perhaps made longer by fewer blows to the head and the ensuing CTE that is sure to follow.

    A very honorable and moral humanitarian worthy of our highest admiration.

  200. I know nothing of American football, other than it seems to be a national deflection and obsession.

    I do however, remember Mohammed Ali. Another black man who thought outside the box of the money that white promoters could make from him.

    I wish Mr. Kaepernick all the best. He is young. I hope his years of playing football will not have damaged his brain. He seems like he has a lot to offer off the field. I hope this works out for him, and the society he lives in.

  201. Mr. Kaepernick certainly certainly has every right to sit or stand during the National Anthem but, by the same token the owners of NFL teams, regardless of the color of their skin, have the right to employ or not employ anyone they see fit to. It is important to recognize that Mr. Kaepernick is man enough to accept his employment situation

  202. He opted out of a contract on an ego-centric belief (reinforced by many comments here) that his social stance would benefit and somehow enhance, psychically, his talent.
    He blew it.

  203. Its absurd to think the NFL is punishing him - their control of the game is absolute. They can penalize a player for wearing the wrong socks. They can convict you of domestic violence, in their own kangaroo court. Yet, they've don't nothing to Kaepernick. They've let him continue his protest, but it's a two-way street - he has the right to kneel and people have the right to criticize him.

    The real story is he got beat out in SF because his skills have slipped and he's just not good enough to be a starter anymore. No team wants a back-up player that causes distractions - it's bad for business. And the NFL is a business. Hey, Kaepernick should know, he graduated from college with a business degree. Stop crying and move on.

  204. Kaepernick broke the Golden Rule of the NFL. Pro players should be seen and not heard unless you are speaking out for the fight against breast cancer. I give him credit for having the willingness to sacrifice his career and endorsements to take a stand on principle. He understood that our actions as a Nation must match our ideals as well. What is a powerful symbol like the flag if we don't strive for equality and freedom for all of our citizens regardless of race or ethnicity. He used the largest platform at the time to spread his message, the N.F.L. He waged a silent protest from the sidelines that spoke volumes and caused our Nation to wake from its stupor of collective amnesia. For race has been the original sin of our country. From the very beginning we preached freedom to the rest of the world even though a third of the population was in chains. We preached freedom when we fought two world wars even though Jim Crow was legal. We preached freedom in the 21st Century even though black men could be killed with impunity by rogue police officers. Kaepernick forced us to confront our imperfections as a Nation and as a Society. Amen, brother. I salute you as a three tour combat vet of Iraq. For you were willing to raise your voice where others remained silent to protect their livelihood, position, and status.

  205. Kap has re-defined the definition of an activist ... you can be one while doing and saying nothing (since the initial act and explanation for not respecting the national anthem) while looking for an NFL job. Unfortunately, the media has labeled him an "activist" which the NFL does not want. Meanwhile, Kap remains as silent as ever waiting for an NFL team to call.

  206. Look at what has happened to this country with conservative neoliberal ideology, drastically reduced (or avoided) taxes by 1-10% millionaires and billionaires (like NFL owners), and unfettered corporate global capitalism (driven in large part by monopolistic tech companies) calling all the shots: 1) Many of us in the 90% have been humiliated to the point where we are retreating into ethnic and cultural tribal animosity, often directing our ire at each other instead of the millionaires and billionaires that are responsible for the current economic situation in the country. 2) We frame liberation mostly in the narrowest of of gender, sexual -orientation, and culture of origin terms, with the grandest reward as the posting our opinions on online message boards and in the corporate tech social media that degrades our economy. 3) We have upwards of 50 million people in the United States who were not born here, and whose assumptions about the meaning of "America" (and whose economic conditions) are so disparate that it has created an endless disagreement and gridlock, benefiting the corporate stooges are trickle-down economic policy that has finally reached its goal of ending the American middle class, creating a new Gilded Age America, a return to the 19th century. I would argue that all of us coming together and protesting (and changing) this horrible economic system would bring more harmony than what Kaep is doing. Not that I am against it in the slightest.

  207. Yep. We're addicted to reality TV!
    It's much easier to have an opinion than to study and know the issues.