OFF THE BENCH WITH JOHN KEEN
NFL regular season action kicked off Thursday, Sept. 8 when the Denver Broncos played host to the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of Super Bowl 50.
However, the rematch was seemingly overshadowed by the pregame actions of Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall. While the rest of Marshall’s teammates stood during the National Anthem, Marshall knelt in silent protest.
“I’m not against the military or police or America at all. I’m against social injustice and I feel like this was the right thing to do,” Marshall told reporters of his decision to kneel.
Marshall, like former Nevada teammate Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, is protesting the ongoing police brutality and overall acts of violence in American society.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” said Kaepernick after San Francisco’s preseason game against Green Bay – via NFL.com.
Kaepernick understands his actions have potential financial and career repercussions.
“I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right”- via CNN
To further back his words, Kaepernick plans on donating $1 million dollars to various organizations assisting communities affected by racial injustices.
Kaepernick has also received a surprising amount of support in terms of jersey sales. According to NFLshop. com, Kapernick’s jersey ranks second in sales only behind Denver’s starting quarterback, Trevor Siemain.
Full effects of Kaepernick’s protest may not be felt for many years. However, its initial societal imprint is undeniable.
According to USAToday, The protest affects have trickled down to high school football where teams in Lincoln, NE; Norfolk, VA; Rockford, IL and other are joining Kaepernick in kneeling/sitting for the National Anthem.
Outside of football circles, Kaepernick’s impact is still being felt. Megan Rapione, a soccer player for Seattle Reign FC who self-identifies as being homosexual, has begun kneeling during the National Anthem in protest.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it,” Rapione said,
Regardless of where one stands on this issue, Alex Smith, Current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and former teammate of Kaepernick, summarized the protest and put it into perspective.
“If anything has come out of this it’s what a great country we live in that you can voice your opinion, you have the right to do that, you have the right to protest,” he said via ninersnation.com