It’s been around 3 years since former NFL 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made a very controversial move. During one of his games instead of standing for the National Anthem, he kneeled in protest.
” Take a Knee” caused the NFL to implement change
In 2016, Kaepernick became a national figure when he ignited a firestorm of controversy by refusing to stand while the National Anthem was being played before the NFL games. He described his behavior as a protest against racial injustice in the United States. His actions prompted negative and positive responses.
The negative responses included suggestions that players who protested should be fired, other people displayed their disapproval of players’ protests by leaving the stadium immediately after the protests or refusing to watch games at all.
Of course, this is not the first time an athlete took drastic measures to protest. In the 1968 Olympic sprinter Dr. Carlos raised his fist during the ceremony where he and Tommie Smith were awarded Olympic medals. Unfortunately, Dr. Carlos was later stripped of his medal. But like Colin, Dr. Carlos did not wavier in fighting for equality.
Historically, African American people have fought tirelessly for equality and fairness. With the many cases of police brutality in recent years, something had to be done. I honestly believe that George Floyd’s death was the last straw. People were tired of seeing African Americans slain in our streets. So, the action was taken.
Every time our people have faced adversity we have risen to the challenge. When we come together to fight oppression; we force change.
In this case, it was Colin Kaepernick who speared headed the fight. As always, once the fire was ignited people took up the cause. In the beginning, NFL Commissioner Roger Godel took a different approach to peaceful protest. Roger made protest policy changes.
The new rules prohibit players from kneeling during the singing or playing of “The Star Bangled Banner”/National Anthem. So far, the new policy has not been enforced. Probably, due to Covid-19 restrictions that took place in 2020.
More importantly, after careful consideration, Roger and the NFL had to make changes that reflect their position on police brutality and racial injustice. NFL has agreed to permit the playing and singing of the Negro National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
According to Pro Football Network, Roger and the NFL pledged to donate $250m over 10 years to help combat social injustice. Clearly, this is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, these new changes will continue to bring about equality.
“Lift Every Voice” (originally written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson, 1871-1938, his brother J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954, put it to music). Take a look at this video, Alicia Keys sings a beautiful rendition of the song. She is accompanied by narration from actor Anthony Mackie. This video sends a very powerful message.
Check out the video above for more details.