What If Colin Kaepernick had knelt on the first snap of the game? Get curious with the President/Founder of SportsFormulator, Matt Fischer about the the NFL, athletes, issues of today, and where the routes they're running intersect in this post that gets curious about protests, knees, and how to maximize the impact of bringing them together.
In 2016, then San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality during the national anthem at games. He refused to stand to honor America while the anthem was sung. He remained seated on the sideline at first and then began taking a knee later in the season. What if Kaepernick had taken a knee on the first snap under center instead of kneeling during the national anthem? Taking a knee on the first play would have gotten attention because the cameras would have been on the action. The networks couldn’t have turned the cameras off like they have done now during the national anthem. They would have to show it and the broadcasters would address it. Honestly, I have Kaepernick fatigue. The narratives both political extremes have twisted Kaepernick’s protest into has made me tune out to it for years now but see an opportunity to redeliver his message. What if it couldn’t be twisted into motivation for riots and would fuel social and political change? What if it couldn’t be twisted as being “anti-American”? Colin Kaepernick’s message is worth hearing and taking action. I am pro-police and believe 99% of them are great officers. Unfortunately the past has shown they aren’t all great and we need a better way to handling the bad ones so we can have a better society and prevent unnecessary violence and death. Kapernick’s message been perverted so many times so people can capitalize on it by raising money for their different causes yet hasn’t far more negative associated with it than positive now. What if we all stood for the anthem and showed we’re together as Americans? Then as soon as we’ve saluted the flag and our country we address the issues facing our society. What if there couldn’t be a narrative that players taking a knee is disrespecting our country? The active NFL players can continue Kaepernick’s message by taking action with peaceful protests on the field. Imagine a Sunday afternoon where on the first play of the game, all 22 players kneeled in unity. That would send a message loud and clear. Kneeling during the anthem turns millions off and they simply won’t listen to your message because of it. What if the NFL used its power to create an organization to support police and set up programs to improve law enforcement in communities nationwide with current and former NFL players involved? It’s over as an NFL player for Kaepernick but he could bring value to an organization trying to improve police relations within a community. Let’s take a new approach to raise awareness and then take the next step to better our police forces and communities nationwide. Matt Fischer