In 2016 Colin Kaepernick, the then quarterback of the 49ers NFL football team, did something that caught the attention of many around the world. Some were positively moved and others were outraged at him for kneeling during the national anthem in an NFL football game. During this time, there was a lot of police brutality towards African Americans and just overall racial injustices toward people of color in the United States. As a way of protesting, Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem to show that he was not okay with what was happening and that he, like many others, wanted change since this country was not doing much to help the circumstances. Many patriotic individuals however did not see the message that he was trying to get across and acted in questionable ways. You would think Colin Kaepernick committed a crime due to the hate and threats the football player was receiving. The NFL then decided to make it illegal for the football players to kneel during the national anthem, and instead gave the players the option to wait in the locker rooms while the anthem played. This restriction only lasted for a year however, making people think that it might have in fact been done illegally, since the league has to get the approval of the union in order to, in simpler terms, make new rules.

Although there were those that didn’t support him, there were many that did, including celebrities and artists. Since there were many artists supporting Kaepernick and his decision to kneel, the NFL was turned down by a few artists to perform at the well known ‘Half-Time Show’ that is done in between the NFL Super Bowl, where at least one artist has about 10 to 15 minutes to entertain those watching either in person, or from the comfort of their home. Some artists that turned down the offer to perform at the Super Bowl in order to stand with Colin Kaepernick were rappers Cardi B and Offset, as well as billionaire singer, actress, and entrepreneur, Rihanna, who turned down this very big opportunity in 2019. Kaepernick however is now doing other things like making a series with Netflix, as well as making campaigns for Nike. Although he has yet to play for the NFL again, the issue has now seemingly been resolved with the NFL commissioner making a public apology to Colin Kaepernick. Rihanna seemingly forgot about it as well or simply chose to let the issue go, since she accepted the opportunity to perform at the 2023 Half-Time Show. This goes to show how something as simple as voicing your opinion for wanting to be treated with respect, can even affect a 10-15 minute performance that many would have loved to have seen.

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Delia Salas

5 thoughts on “The Domino Effect of Kneeling

  1. I personally don’t think the NFL should have banned players from kneeling for the national anthem, however, I don’t think any player ever should. I understand that Kaepernick was protesting the state of the nation, but by kneeling for the National Anthem you are disrespecting all of its history. There are many ways to protest things one disagrees with, but it doesn’t mean that someone can protest any way they see fit.

  2. I think it is illegal to not allow players to kneel during the national anthem. It was Colin Kapernick’s way of expressing how he felt towards the current state of the nation. His expression wasn’t physical towards anyone but the way his action was treated was how one would be treated after a physical altercation. It is interesting that Rihanna refused to perform in 2019 but decided to perform earlier this year.

  3. I think the fact that the NFL making it illegal for players to kneel during the national anthem is illegal in itself. As a mixed American, Kaepernick should have been protected by the first amendment allowing him to protest the American anthem as he was unsatisfied with the way the policemen in the country are treating certain ethnicities. He was not disrespecting anyone especially since it was during a football game, a source of entertainment, rather than a soldier or any authoratative figure. He was just showing his disappointment in his country and the other members agreed with taking that kind of action.

  4. I think that the NFL making it illegal for the players to kneel during the national anthem is the violation of the first amendment. As a mixed American playing for an American team, it was in his rights that he was protected to protest against the government for what was wrong. He was in no way harming anyone and the national anthem was sung during an entertainment event; it was not like he disrespected American soldiers or policemen, he simply was protesting his pride for the United States of America as the situation of the country was upsetting him.

  5. I heard about this situation that occurred, but I never knew the full details because in 2016 I was in middle school. But after reading this article and finding out what actually happen, I support the kneeling Colin Kaepernick especially knowing it is not illegal to not support the national anthem. It was not a hate crime, it was a football player choosing to defend his rights and speak out against police brutality towards the color of people in the United States.

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