Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have to turn his back on the NFL to advocate effectively

In Opinion
An illustration of Colin Kaepernick looking at a football pensively.
(Dalia Quiroz / Daily Titan)

Last month former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was given the opportunity to work with the Seattle Seahawks, yet, when asked if he would continue to kneel during the national anthem, he foolishly declined to comment. Rather than playing the dumb-jock stereotype, Kaepernick needs to prove that real jocks can reasonably think through delicate situations.

It’s time for Kaepernick to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented to him. Kaepernick can still advocate for issues while keeping his career; all he has to do is think logically about the next step in his activism.

Rather than try to tempt fate or act coy, Kaepernick should just accept the position. If not for the sake of his career, then for the sake of building a greater audience for when he continues his activism outside of work.

Kaepernick already made huge waves last year by choosing to sit on the bench — and later take a knee — during the national anthem, and while many believe his actions were ridiculous, his daring stunt is still admirable.

Despite the criticism, he brought necessary attention to police brutality, an issue that a “post-racial” society chooses to ignore, and proved he was adamantly serious in his stance.

But he can’t truly believe that repeating the same rebellious act will make a difference. He did something shocking — got it. But the initial “wow” factor has faded.

Now he needs to backup his actions. Rather than letting all that work go to waste, Kaepernick needs to move forward and start advocating outside of the field.

Actively participating in a movement is profoundly more difficult than just starting a conversation because now he has to have statistical analysis, not just overwhelming emotion, to prove his point.

Kaepernick has the unique opportunity to bring in advocates and attention to racial tensions in the United States.

Being an athlete in the NFL is a rare opportunity. College football athletes only have a 1.6 percent chance of becoming a part of major league football team, according to the NCAA.

He can continue the career he worked hard to achieve, while also raising awareness by supporting those who are experienced and know how to explain racial inequalities.

Scholars who have studied and written about police brutality, and have years of research and quantitative data to show evidence for their claims are important voices who can help provide a logical argument, not just an emotional one.

If he does it right, he doesn’t have to give up one to support the other, nor should he be so boneheaded to try to view his career and his activism as being opposing forces that can’t mutually exist.

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll said on April 24, that he was still open to the possibility of having Kaepernick join the team.

If he’s out of a job, Kaepernick can’t advocate as effectively for racial equality, and he won’t be any more than a one-time occurrence that was recorded in the books.

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