#ImWithKap: The Impact of a Silent Protest
The day of Super Bowl LIII, a hashtag surfaced on social media, but it wasn’t related to either the teams or any of their players. The hashtag was #ImWithKap, symbolizing the resistance of the Super Bowl, as well as the NFL itself due to the situation involving Colin Kaepernick.
Colin Kaepernick was formerly the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and became nationally known after he knelt during the National Anthem to protest police brutality in 2016.
This silent protest received immense amount of attention on social media and caused a spark in the Black Lives Matter movement. Although Kaepernick had a large base of supporters, opposers had their own opinion – specifically President Donald Trump, who stated that those who don’t stand for the National Anthem “shouldn’t be in the country.”
Kaepernick ignored insults thrown at him and continued to silently protest for a movement that was greater than himself.
Since the 2016 season, Kaepernick hasn’t been able to find a team to sign him, leading him to file a collusion grievance accusing NFL teams of banding together to keep him out of the league.
Kaepernick fueled anger that has been pushed underneath the surface and those in support of the ex-player gained momentum as the Super Bowl approached, according to The Washington Post.
Athletes, such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant, showed their support for Kaepernick over the Super Bowl weekend by wearing jerseys with Kaepernick’s number, seven. Other celebrities have also claimed their support for Kaepernick, including Cardi B, who denied performing at the Halftime Show to show her support.
Tiffany Fuentes, an LIM senior originally from the New England area, explains her personal opinion towards the boycott of the Super Bowl: “I wasn’t watching that shit anyway. I have seen enough of Tom Brady to last me a lifetime. To be honest, the Super Bowl didn’t affect anything; it didn’t cause harm nor good. There was a lot of media coverage, both like ‘Screw the Game!’ or ‘Update: Pats Take the Lead!”, but it still just happened and then it left.”
While Kaepernick is the most recent athlete to cause controversy, he isn’t the first.
In 1967, Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer in the world during that era, was stripped of his world heavyweight title and sentenced up to 5 years in prison for refusing to draft for the Vietnam War. This caused quite a scandal and reached the ears of those in Vietnam since he was the most famous person to refuse to serve thus far.
Ali’s reason was similar to Kaepernick’s and famously explained it to The New York Times in mid-April 1967: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam after so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
In 1971, the Supreme Court overturned his conviction and Ali returned to his boxing career. Ali paved the way for future individuals to stand up for what they believe in and fight for a greater cause which is exactly what Kaepernick continues to do on and off the field.