There’s been a variety of misinformation and conjecture over the previous 4 years when discussing former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his determination, in the summertime of 2016, to sit down and later kneel throughout the taking part in of the nationwide anthem.

However let’s take it again to the start.

On Aug. 26, 2016, earlier than a preseason sport in opposition to the Inexperienced Bay Packers, Kaepernick was noticed by a number of media members sitting on the San Francisco 49ers group bench as “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed forward of kickoff. Instantly after the sport, NFL Media reporter Steve Wyche requested the then-28-year-old about why he was sitting throughout the anthem.

Kaepernick responded: “I’m not going to face up to take pride in a flag for a rustic that oppresses black individuals and folks of shade. … To me, that is greater than soccer and it could be egocentric on my half to look the opposite approach. There are our bodies on the street and folks getting paid go away and getting away with homicide.”

With the current occasions happening in Minneapolis following the loss of life of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, and in Louisville, Kentucky, following the loss of life of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black girl, each by the hands of cops, it’s necessary to return to Kaepernick’s phrases and actions from 2016 particularly as uprisings have taken half in a number of cities since Monday.

After Kaepernick’s quotes have been revealed following the 2016 preseason sport, there was rapid backlash from a large portion of the inhabitants. Kaepernick was labeled anti-cop, anti-military, so on and so forth. A league government referred to as him a “traitor.” Kaepernick acquired numerous loss of life threats. Regardless of serving to lead the 49ers to the Tremendous Bowl three years earlier than his demonstration, Kaepernick hasn’t been signed to an NFL group since he grew to become a free agent in 2017. All as a result of his easy phrases – that legislation enforcement must be held accountable for killing residents – urged white Individuals to take a look at themselves within the mirror after centuries of having the ability to ignore the plight of black Individuals.

What Kaepernick mentioned and did was controversial, however solely for individuals who see controversy in asking for primary human rights for African Individuals that allegedly have been afforded to them underneath the 14th Modification practically two centuries in the past.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneels throughout the nationwide anthem earlier than an NFL soccer sport in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, California, Oct. 2, 2016.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Picture

The primary three weeks after initially sitting for the nationwide anthem, Kaepernick clearly defined to the media the reasoning behind his protest.

On what would make him stand for the anthem once more: “I’m going to proceed to face with the individuals which are being oppressed. To me, that is one thing that has to alter. When there’s vital change and I really feel that flag represents what it’s alleged to signify, and this nation is representing individuals the best way that it’s alleged to, I’ll stand.”

On whether or not his message was in opposition to the armed forces: “The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men and girls of the navy, and that’s not the case in any respect. I understand that women and men of the navy exit and sacrifice their lives and put their selves in hurt’s approach for my freedom of speech and my freedoms on this nation, and my freedom to sit or take a knee, so I’ve the utmost respect for them and I feel what I did was taken out of context and spun a distinct approach.”

On whom he was protesting for: “I couldn’t see one other ‘hashtag Sandra Bland, hashtag Tamir Rice, hashtag Walter Scott, hashtag Eric Garner,’ the record goes on and on and on. … At what level can we do one thing about it? At what level can we take a stand and as a individuals say this isn’t proper? You will have a badge, sure. You’re alleged to be defending us, not murdering us, and that’s what the difficulty actually is and we have to change that.”

With these feedback, Kaepernick wasn’t some “traitor.” As an alternative, he grew to become a black gentle for figuring out the racists who stay amongst us.

Kaepernick exactly mentioned police shouldn’t have the ability to kill unarmed black individuals with out consequence. However some individuals within the nation, when instructed of illegal and racist actions by the police in opposition to black individuals, selected to disregard the “black individuals” portion of the protest and took umbrage at accusations of racism. Hit canine, in any case, will holler.

Quick-forward to this week, and every part Kaepernick laid out 4 years in the past remains to be occurring. As Floyd was apprehended by police on Monday, a white Minneapolis officer could be seen on video later launched on social media digging his knee into Floyd’s neck as Floyd screamed, “I can’t breathe.” In March, Taylor was killed by Louisville police after officers charged into her house after midnight whereas in search of a person who didn’t stay at Taylor’s residence. Taylor was shot eight occasions by the officers.

Kaepernick started his protests in 2016 following the extremely publicized deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by cops in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively, silently protesting to carry consciousness to police misconduct and racial inequality within the nation. His ways have been deemed inappropriate by many.

In gentle of the alleged killings of Floyd and Taylor by the hands of legislation enforcement, communities in Minneapolis and Louisville (and different cities, together with Los Angeles) have reacted with anger. Since Floyd’s slaying on Monday, individuals in Minneapolis have protested day by day, burning down a number of buildings, together with a police precinct. On Thursday night time, seven individuals have been shot at a protest in Louisville whereas demonstrators took over streets and brought about some property harm.

The criticism was swift.

“How can we construct belief between the group and the police? Let’s go steal s— from Goal. Looters are absolutely the scum of the earth,” tweeted former Packers and Detroit Lions offensive lineman T.J. Lang concerning the Minneapolis demonstrations.

“How does looting, rioting and destroying your OWN group carry justice for anybody?” requested Fox Information persona Tomi Lahren. (On the time of his preliminary protest in 2016, Lahren tweeted that Kaepernick ought to “go away” America if “this nation disgusts you a lot.”)

To some, violent riots aren’t the proper method to go about social change. Property harm or looting, the pondering goes, does nothing however push extra individuals in opposition to your trigger. By no means thoughts that Martin Luther King Jr., one of many “good ones” to some in white America, as soon as mentioned that “a riot is the language of the unheard.”

However damaging reactions to current protests add an additional degree of irony when desirous about Kaepernick. If burning down companies and disrupting site visitors on highways are the improper methods to protest, would a silent, nonviolent protest that intelligently lays out its arguments and calls for suffice? Maybe one which prioritized sitting down over standing up?

Practically 4 years in the past, Kaepernick brought about a nationwide controversy when he mentioned that it was improper that cops can get away with killing individuals. Within the wake of Floyd’s killing, many within the sports activities world have spoken out: LeBron James, Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders. On Friday, 4 days after Floyd’s loss of life, the previous Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the power on Tuesday, was charged with third-degree homicide. Practically three months after Taylor was killed, not a single Louisville officer has been arrested or charged.

Kaepernick instructed us this was improper. America selected to not hear.

Martenzie is an affiliate editor for The Undefeated. His favourite cinematic second is when Django mentioned “Y’all need to see somethin?”

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