Use Your Voice, But Do Not Use It Too Much
by Ashwarya Singh
Why is Colin Kaepernick still unemployed? Many ponder this question as the 2017 NFL season starts this Sunday. Sports Illustrated interviewed different NFL fans on why they thought Kaepernick remains unemployed. One particular male responded, “He is unemployed because he’s an idiot, I mean, how do you make $12 million and let it go? Stick to football, man.” Another fan said, “He shouldn’t do it during the national anthem.” That wasn’t it though, as another angry fan raged, “No one cares about what athletes have to say.” These opinions make one wonder, is this really what his sports audience thinks of an athlete embracing his social responsibility?
Many athletes believed that African Americans in this country were being mistreated. However, those athletes may have been stifled by the system which is why they did not voice their opinions. Kaepernick, nonetheless, remained determine to pursue his social activism. What started as “taking a knee” in 2016 became a pledge to bring attention to discrimination in this country against unarmed African Americans, particularly African American males. Last year, Kaepernick started a free campaign. The “Know Your Rights Camp” works to raise awareness on higher education for black males and gives them proper instruction on handling interactions with the law enforcement. San Francisco 49ers News writes that the young man’s goal is “to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.” Mercury News also writes that, “The quarterback gave $25,000 each to Silicon Valley De-Bug, a media, community organizing, and social entrepreneurial collective based in San Jose, and Causa Justa/Just Cause in Oakland.” When interviewed by Mercury News, Dr. Harry Edwards, professor at UC Berkeley, said, ““If he did nothing else but what he has managed to achieve, he belongs in the Smithsonian right next to Muhammad Ali, right next to Tommy Smith and John Carlos, right next to Arthur Ashe and Jim Brown and Bill Russell, right next to all of those trailblazers who came through the locker room door in an effort to advance and enlighten us all.” While some say he should stick to football, others say he deserves placed next to Muhammad Ali, and other such influential athletes who took a stand. Kaepernick continues to be a hero by making this indelible mark in history. However, that does not change the fact that maybe his social activism does play a role in his unemployment. But is that right? It is because of influential people like Kaepernick who can help bring change in this society.
That’s what it comes down to for Kaepernick. Stand up for what you believe in, but do not let that get your job taken away from you. Voice your opinion but do not let it offend someone else. Use your voice but do not use it too much.