Three weeks after people finally noticed Colin Kaepernick was staying seated during the National Anthem in week 3 of NFL preseason action, his choice of protest is still dominating the headlines.
Kaepernick’s message has been fine tuned and so has the way in which he executes his protest. After speaking to former Green Beret and NFL veteran Nate Boyer, he has gone from sitting to taking a knee during the anthem.
Taking a knee is Kaepernick’s attempt to show this is not about disrespecting, hating or blaming the military for the social injustices at the heart of this issue.
The backup San Francisco 49ers quarterback is also putting his money where his mouth is by donating money to causes to help the very communities he is standing up for. Not only did he pledge the first $1 million of his contract to several foundations, he isn’t stopping there.
His jersey sales recently skyrocketed to No. 1 and those proceeds are also going to be allocated to the cause.
Many other NFL players and other professional athletes have joined ranks with Kaepernick. As have many high school athletes – some being applauded for their social engagement at such a young age while others have received suspensions.
This is not going away and we all know it. Whether you support his actions or are offended by them, Kaepernick is achieving exactly what he set out to do. He has begun a conversation that is taking a life of it’s own.
Of all the reactions to this, former Oakland Raider Charles Woodson’s perspective initiated a thoughtful contemplation for me personally.
Sometimes we are so deeply embedded in our opinions and views we defiantly dig our heels into the ground to defend them and end up losing the ability to hear another’s.
How do we as individuals, as a society, grow and change and become better?
We listen. We try to understand. We look at the bigger picture and get outside of our own small piece of the world.
You don’t have to applaud Colin Kaepernick, or the multiple other athletes for that matter, for what they are protesting or how they have chosen to deliver their message. I am most certainly not trying to change your mind.
What I am suggesting you do is listen. Hear what is being said.
The method may be flawed, but is the message?