When Taking a Stand Means Refusing to Stand
A look at Colin Kaepernick’s powerful protest after a summer of activism in the sports world
Muhammad Ali. More recently the NBA and WNBA. Even the long-silent Michael Jordan. And now athletes taking political stands comes to the NFL — with Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the U.S. national anthem at a preseason game in protest of how African Americans and other minorities have been treated in the U.S.
There has (of course) been Twitter backlash about Kaepernick, but surprisingly little from his team and the NFL — they seem to recognize that his right to freedom of expression includes a choice to remain seated while the Star-Spangled Banner is played. (But after NFL rejected the Cowboys’ request to wear stickers on their helmets in support of uniting the Dallas community over the recent gun violence against police, organized by Jason Witten, it looks like it may be a long season for Roger Goodell … And he thought it was going to be smooth sailing after Deflategate!?)
You know who also exercised his right to free speech this weekend in a very different way? John Harbaugh, who made some harsh comments about the way the preseason is structured, as it has resulted in lots of injuries during meaningless games. This weekend, Tony Romo broke a bone in his back (again) and will likely be out 6–10 weeks. Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson had his season cut short with a torn Achilles tendon suffered on the first offensive play of Saturday’s game against the Lions. And first-year Texans center Nick Martin is also out for the season with an ankle injury. (Take a deep dive into other rookies to watch with our team-by-team breakdown.)
And finally: Vegas is getting a hockey team, could football be next? The Raiders will be playing in Oakland this year, but the team filed to trademark the name “Las Vegas Raiders” last week and released renderings of a close to $2 billion stadium in Sin City. The trademark doesn’t necessarily mean anything — the Chargers did the same thing with Los Angeles before the Rams ended up there — but it is most definitely a “just-in-case” step. It’s OK, those Oakland fans must be used to moving by now.