Last year, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee when the national anthem played before an NFL game. It was a simple yet powerful protest against oppression faced by the African-American community in the United States.
Now, the officers from NYPD are rallying in his support.
Although the player maintained he was not against the law enforcement agencies, the moment remained imprinted in the collective memory of the American people, igniting debates and garnering heaps of criticism.
However, it also inspired others, who joined in the meaningful protest.
Sadly, Kaepernick’s act of defiance seemed to put his career in jeopardy.
The quarterback, who was a 2013 Super Bowl standout, has not been signed by any team since. This year, as all 32 NFL teams completed their summer workouts, Kaepernick was left unemployed. During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump tried to gleefully take credit for the fact that Kaepernick could not find a job.
"There was an article today, it was reported that NFL owners don't want to pick him up because they don't want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump," Trump said at a rally. "You believe that?"
As much as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asserts that Kaepernick’s protest did not affect his chances at being signed, the truth is in too plain a sight to be ignored.
On Saturday, more than 50 NYPD officers hosted a press conference at Brooklyn Bridge to record their support for Kaepernick.
“Just because you are in law enforcement doesn’t mean your voice is silenced and the First Amendment doesn’t apply to you,” said NYPD Sgt. Edwin Raymond.
The participants were fully aware the system that puts dissenters in its place may come to claim them as their next victims.
“They were scared,” Raymond admitted of the 40-plus active-duty officers participating in Saturday’s protest. “I got text messages and calls afterwards saying, ‘I almost didn’t come.’”
Many bent their knees to honor the athlete’s protest.
The cops were not the only ones supporting Kaepernick. On Friday, the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP announced plans to boycott the NFL if Kaepernick was not signed.
“There will be no football in the state of Georgia if Colin Kaepernick is not on a training camp roster and given an opportunity to pursue his career,” Gerald Griggs, the group’s vice president, recently told Fox 5 in Atlanta. “This is not a simple request. This is a statement. This is a demand.”
Some claim that the participants of the press conference are already being threatened.
My NYPD friends who held a press conference for Colin Kaepernick and against police brutality today are getting death threats— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 19, 2017
Think on that
Oakland Raider’s running back Marshawn Lynch also recently refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game. He wasn’t the only one: Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett also followed suit.
“This is bigger than me. This is bigger than football,” Bennett told reporters on Aug. 14.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Stephen Lam