When you have set yourself on the road against “the powers that be”, when do you give in? Furthermore, is it even ethical to give in? Even more importantly, what is your resistance if it crumbles under currency?
Money gives us power, or more specifically, the ability to make decisions that affect and impact our lives and our society. How much would it take for you to drop the cause if that meant being able to live the dream?
Former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, known for his political activism regarding police brutality and racism, was allegedly offered 10 million dollars annually from the San Francisco 49ers before opting out of his contract, but risked it for his daring protest.
On September 1, 2016, Kaepernick protested injustice by refusing to stand for the national anthem during the final 2016 pre-season game. He was followed by a bevy of other NFL players, such as Eric Reed.
Since 2016, Kaepernick’s sparked a protest against the national anthem that has since become a flame, starting a movement of anti-racism protest in the US, and even outside of it. However, Kaepernick’s own protest has become seemingly relaxed, and more performative than ever before.
For people who support him, Kaepernick served as a spokesman for those who are experiencing fear or powerlessness, using his platform to speak for victims whose voices were brutally stolen from them by those who were supposed to be our “protectors”.
Kaepernick willingly put everything on the line to bring awareness to police brutality towards people of color, and as far as his dreams and aspirations went, he sacrificed for that end.
Hate towards Kaepernick was hitting him from many demographics, with people like Donald Trump, the NFL, and even the military verbally attacking Kaepernick during his initial protests.
The former NFL pro-bowler has always believed in standing for something, and in his own words, “Believe in something. Even if that means sacrificing everything.”
Overtime, Kaepernick changed the narrative of his protest with the quote “Speaking without Speaking “. He wanted to stay silent in order to reclaim the narrative of his protest. After seeing the results of his protests, it’s no surprise that he felt as though his protest has been hijacked by those with political agendas.
In an interview with GQ, the question was asked “Why talk now, when your detractors will only twist your words and use them against you? Why speak now when silence has done so much?”
In Kaepernick’s case, his silence represents those who were silenced by force. It reveals the power of speaking without speaking. This way of protesting exercises patience and perseverance while keeping the oppressor speculating.
It was initially theorized that he had been discussing an at least $60 million settlement with the NFL, though it has currently been reported that this number was much higher than the actual amount: $10 million. News of this settlement has brought much disappointment, with many posing a valid question: was this all in vain?
Many people of color believe that Kaepernick staying silent on the matter is his way of selling out, but to Kaep, staying silent was his way of “playing the game”. He had to save himself but was also put in the position to do his part in being able to better help our people.
At the same time, this is an exact antithesis to the athletes that came before him, such as Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Although these men existed in times of much more intense racial animosity, they never folded. Regardless of how much they lost, their activism lasted, and so did their legacies.
The real question that needs to be asked is; “Would you sacrifice everything to stand for something? Would you risk the dream you’ve worked so hard for, to fight for the cause?”
Kaepernick’s heroic journey has been an inspiration to those who just don’t have the courage to speak up, and in its own way, silence speaks volume to the voiceless and yet, without making a sound, the conversation continues.