On Sept. 1, 2016, Collin, Kaepernick took the first step in a movement that would have a huge impact on and off the football field when he took a knee during the National Anthem in protest for racial injustice and police brutality going on across the US. Fast forward to week one of the 2020 NFL season where players and teams are still using their platform to protest police brutality and racial injustice fueled by events like the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and many more that happened throughout the year. In the season opener, the Houston Texans and defending Super Bowl Champs Kansas City Chiefs had only one player kneel, defensive end Alex Okafor of the Chiefs while the Houston Texans opted to not go on the field during the anthem. Pre-game both teams linked arms midfield in a sign of unity.
These were not the only teams that had players participate in the protest. The NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, and WNBA have held and participated in protests on and off the fields and courts. The NBA and WNBA players got to change the name on the back of their jerseys to messages like Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names, Equality, and How Many More.
In baseball, there were many players from the MLB to the minor leagues kneeling during the anthem. On the opening night game, The Washington Nationals vs The New York Yankees the Yankees went to batting practice in Black Lives Matter shirts. Both teams held a black cloth going from the Nationals first base line to the Yankees third baseline pre-game and while the anthem played every player and coach on the field kneeled for about 20 seconds.
In the MLS five games were canceled and the league released a statement in support of racial justice: “The entire Major League Soccer family unequivocally condemns racism and has always stood for equality, but we need to do more to take tangible steps to impact change,” MLS said.
With the results in the Brenna Taylor case, there’s no better time to get the message across as much as possible. Athletes are more than athletes in this time and they should be able to put across their message as everyone else with protests all over the country and in our sports.