Deepening The Analysis
The media source that I used to get further information on my topic of Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and his protest is from a podcast on The Seattle Medium, a newspaper both physical and online, that is located in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Medium is owned by the Tiloben Publishing Company, Inc. which is the largest African American owned communications company in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Medium is just one of four newspapers that Tiloben Publishing Company owns and operates. The podcast titled, “Colin Kaepernick Protest” is hosted by Chris B. Bennett who is an award winning co-publisher and editor of The Seattle Medium, and has several podcasts ranging from sports to consumer reports. Chris Bennett has as a guest, JB whom is the host of Game Time Sports Talk, another sports podcast from the Northwest. Over their 18-minute podcast, Chris asks JB a series of questions concerning Colin Kaepernick and his protest, one of which is if he (Kaepernick) knows what he is doing, and how America views this protest.
I have read many newspaper articles on Kaepernick and his protest, and to be honest I didn’t think I would learn anything new. Kaepernick isn’t the first person or athlete to speak out about the injustice that the Black community experiences, so why is his protest different? Why has it lasted as long as it has? After listening to this podcast I understood why. The way in which Kaepernick protests makes Americans feel like they need to pick one side only. Picking a side with the sentiment that either you’re against Kaepernick and what he stands for, or against the American flag and what it stands for.
The podcast is structured as a question and answer type session with the host, Chris, asking the questions and JB answering. What I believed before about this protest is that it was an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement, and that it was mainly those who felt oppressed by the system, against those who felt everything in America is equal and that there is nothing wrong with the way the system currently is. What Chris and JB talked about made me realize that this protest is something different. Surely, by now it has been engulfed into the Black Lives Matter movement, but it started off as something entirely different.
What most people know about the Kaepernick protest is that he sat during the playing of the national anthem at a preseason game. According to Christine Hauser from the New York Times in her article “Why Colin Kaepernick Didn’t Stand for the National Anthem” Kaepernick is quoted as saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…” referring to the recent string of viral videos depicting police brutality or excessive force against people of color. What many don’t realize is that he had sat during the anthem for two previous games, but no one really noticed or cared because he was not playing that game. Kaepernick was not looking for attention, his protest was a silent protest for himself, but after the media spotlight hit him he turned that silent protest into a movement to bring awareness to his cause.
Why not just take to Twitter as every other celebrity does when they feel the need to voice their opinions to the world? As Chris Bennett put it, “If Kaepernick had protested in another way, or just decided to talk directly to the media about his thoughts on the issue you know, this thing would of lasted about 2 days.” The sitting during the anthem of America was done on purpose as it was much more powerful than speaking. Americans then thought their only two options were to agree with Kaepernick, which would mean you agree with disrespecting the flag; Or, disagree with Kaepernick and be a patriot. How picking one meant opposing the other came about I have no clue, but patriotism in this day and age is a powerful topic of conversation. It’s also great for getting many views, so the media has been playing his protest every chance they get. This way of thinking has further gapped the rift that separates the people of different races in America. As JB said during the podcast, “I’m not sure if we’ve ever been more divided since the civil rights era.” All of these reasons contribute to why Kaepernick’s protest has yet to fade into internet obscurity.
Supposedly, Kaepernick is unpatriotic for sitting during the anthem. Recently, it has become a trend that black athletes are called unpatriotic for the slightest gestures or lack thereof, such is the case for Gabby Douglas, the Olympic gold medalist. In this article “Gabby Douglas Defends Herself Against the Wrath of Social Media” by Katie Rogers of The New York Times Douglas incurred the wrath of social media and was verbally trampled by those she represented, merely because she forgot to place her hand on her heart during the playing of the anthem. Her character in every aspect has since been attacked. It is very difficult to imagine that someone who wins a gold medal for their country is anything but patriotic. On another note during the very same Olympics, swimmer Ryan Lochte, a white male poster child of America, was caught lying about an incident involving guns and destroying property, yet unsurprisingly his stint on the frying pan of social media was relatively short, with many comments saying, boys will be boys.
Chris, B. “Podcast: Colin Kaeperick Protest.” The Seattle Medium 12 September 2016, http://seattlemedium.com/podcast-colin-kaepernick-protest/ Accessed 15 December 2016
Hauser, C. “Why Colin Kaepernick Didn’t Stand for the National Anthem.” The New York Times 27 August 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/sports/football/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem-49ers-stand.html?_r=2 Accessed 15 December 2016
Rogers, K. “Gabby Douglas Defends Herself Against the Wrath of Social Media.” The New York Times 15 Aug. 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/sports/olympics/gabby-douglas-defends-herself-against-the-wrath-of-social-media.html Accessed 15 December 2016.