colin kaepernick sits down to protest racist police brutality

san francisco 49ers quarterback colin kaepernick has been trending since last friday.

kaepernick's protest
the protest: can u find colin kaepernick in this picture?

jason johnson‘s article on explains why.

after what would be an otherwise totally unremarkable preseason football game between the san francisco 49ers and the green bay packers, some intrepid cameraperson noticed that kaepernick did not stand for the national anthem.

otherwise means except for. unremarkable means normal or boring. intrepid is fearless, valiant.

dodge intrepid
the dodge intrepid

kaepernick explained

i am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. to me this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

get away with means there are no penalties, consequences for or even recognition of an act. in the past few years, in various u.s. communities, there have been incidents in which police have fatally shot unarmed african-americans. some of the communities where this has happened have decided to give the officers responsible for the shooting paid leave (time away from work that is compensated) instead of suspending them without pay or firing them.  selfish is not paying attention to other peoplelook the other way means ignore.

fun elt practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

kaepernick defends his protest
kaepernick is speaking out against police brutality

johnson applauds kaepernick because

most african-american athletes who speak out today do it from behind a championship podium, and it’s much harder for racists and conservative pundits to throw shade at someone whose championship rings are shining so bright.

speak out means voice an opinion publicly. pundits are experts or authorities on some topic. throw shade means criticize creatively. shine means reflecting light, bright.

sunshine is the greatest shine on earth
when the sun shines we call it sunshine.

kaep led the 49ers to the super bowl 4 seasons ago, but these days johnson explains that colin

[has] got nothing to fall back on. he’s not a champion; he’s not the face of the nfl; heck, he’s not even a starter on his own team. when the racist trolls and the conservative pundits come for him, he will have nothing to protect himself with.

fall back on means support.  heck is a softer way to say hell. it’s used for emphasis. starter is used in sports to designate players who start the game. trolls in the internet sense are people who comment only with the intention of creating conflict or anger.

grouchy old troll
the grouchy old troll from dora: trolling since before it got big on the internet.

johnson emphasizes the rough patch (difficult moment) kaepernick is passing through professionally when he jokes that his

nfl career is hanging by a “second” string

the humor is that hanging by a string means barely surviving and second string on a sports team are reserves or backups for the starters.

hanging by a thread
hanging by a thread or hanging by a string or holding on by a string

the conclusion of the article reiterates johnson’s respect for colin kaepernick speaking out while not being at the top of his game as a quarterback.

not everyone, let alone a professional athlete, is built for a life of civil activism, and there’s no shame in that. nevertheless whenever professional athletes choose to take part in the larger movement for justice it’s worth noting, applauding and supporting. this is especially the case when an athlete is holding on to their career by a thread and will have little to stand on professionally when the backlash comes.

let alone means less. shame is embarrassment or disgrace. nevertheless contrasts ideas, similar to but or however. it’s worth recommends that people applaud, support or at least note kaepernick’s activist efforts. holding on by a thread, like hanging on by a string, indicates a struggle. backlash is a negative reaction.

black boycott 1968 mexico city
1968 mexico city olympics: another protest that drew serious backlash.

sitting in protest rather than standing during the national anthem is a totally passive act. however, american athletes of all sports at all levels generally accept the ritual of standing as part of the game. more than a few nfl players and coaches have disagreed with kaep’s method and/or motivation. they believe he disrespected the flag, the u.s. military, the united states or all three of them.

but seeing flags and national anthems as sacred, vague representations of a country’s belief system ignores important problems and creates new ones.  it does not encourage (inspire, stimulate) people to think or listen to other perspectives. i definitely understand why kaeperinick decided to do what he is doing and it clearly has been an effective way to attract attention.

will the definition of kaepernicking change this season?

what do u think? does kaepernick’s protest deserve respect? should he find a different way to express his discontent?  share your views under leave a reply


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