Colin Kaepernick started to show signs of collective behavior (Staggenborg, 14), because the oppression of African Americans continued to happen in the United States. Kaepernick's collective behavior is similar to some of the actions taken by Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Era. After the multiples death of blacks by police, Kaepernick took a step back and evaluated the grievances, in which those led to the goals of showing the United States that police brutality and social injustices were taking a toll on people of color. Primarily critical events (Staggenborg, 43) that led to the start of the movement, were the deaths of African Americans like Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, and the other event being the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Kaepernick felt neither candidate was doing enough to shed light on the numerous amounts of police brutality related deaths on people of color. The following action taken by Kaepernick is related to the marches and sit-ins held by Martin Luther King Jr. and the historical, groundbreaking action taken by Rosa Parks when she boycotted moving seats on the bus. Even before the social movement of "Take A Knee" began, Kaepernick showed his feelings on the subject matter by not standing for the National Anthem before kickoff.
Kaepernick's tactic of sitting during the National Anthem, started to become a prominent topic across the country. Yet, the framing of the topic was completely opposite of Kaepernick's. Master frames (Staggenborg, 23) came into play more than ever when Kaepernick started to get more exposure for his pregame stance. Those in opposition of Kaepernick were saying he was disrespecting the military and it was extremely un-American and unpatriotic. That was far from the Kaepernick's truth, because his framing continued to be about the oppression of people of color and the numerous counts of police brutality among blacks. To get his message back on track, a new tactic was put into place. With the suggestion from a former green beret and NFL player, Nate Boyer, Kaepernick decided to kneel instead of sit during the National Anthem. Along side him was his teammate, Eric Reid. Reid voiced his agreement with Kaepernick stating, "Things have happened in Louisiana and the injustices that are happening could have happened to one of my family members. It touched close to home and I just wanted to show my support to him and let him know that he is not the only person who feels the way that he feels. There are a lot of people out there that feel that way." Both understood that there would be some who disagreed with them, by booing, trashing their jerseys, and stop attending games. Yet, the possible benefits of the protest would outweigh those costs in their minds.
After weeks of protesting on his own, a few NFL players started to join the movement. The movement started to gain momentum due to activists developing a collective identity (Staggenborg, 25) over Kaepernick's framing of his social movement. A collective identity began to form due to some selective incentives (Staggenborg, 35) activists received for joining the movement. Two of those selective incentives they received were solidary and purposive. Overall a solidary incentive (Staggenborg, 35) they received was simply being associated with a group and being identified with a movement they believed in. The other incentive they received was a purposive incentive (Staggenborg, 35), because they were beginning to use a tactic that could change the way people of color were being represented and mistreated in the United States. Many of the NFL players who began to kneel have been oppressed and/or understood the negativity and the backward steps the country was taking. Kneeling became popular outside of the NFL whereas other athletes (men and women) in professional sports around the United States, were kneeling in solidarity with Kaepernick. One being a female soccer player, Megan Rapinoe, who is also a part of the LGBTQ community and feminist movement. Mobilization structures (Staggenborg, 21) had started to form not only with those that were a part of the social injustice movement, but those from other prominent movements.
Highlighted in one of the sources above, the critical event (Staggenborg, 43) of the 2016 presidential election led to the growth of 'Take a Knee'. Compared to the speeches that outlined racial injustice by former president, Barack Obama, it was a scarce talking point for both candidates, Clinton and Trump. Clinton talked about the injustices against African Americans, but not how to stop those injustices. Trump resorted to blaming gangs and how they shed a negative light on the black communities. Whenever the subject came about, they did better at reflecting it than answering it with a logical solution. The number of black killings done by police has increased from year to year and nothing has been done to decrease that number or prevent further killings. This is why Kaepernick started to kneel so people can continue to shed light on the increasing number of black killings. Also, African Americans face inequalities, like housing and social class, which adds to challenges they have to face everyday. Black Lives Matter has helped 'Take a Knee' mobilize into what it has become today. Many of the activists associated with Black Lives Matter, support Kaepernick's movement. One could call Black Lives Matter a movement entrepreneur (Staggenborg, 20), because it ideals have harvested 'Take a Knee'. Teresa Dávila, M. (2017). Discussing Racial Justice in Light of 2016: Black Lives Matter, a Trump Presidency, and the Continued Struggle for Justice. Journal Of Religious Ethics, 45(4), 761-792. doi:10.1111/jore.12199
Obviously, not all are in favor of Kaepernick's stance. One example being President Trump who has publicly condemned the actions action by professional athletes, but more importantly their leader (Kaepernick). The use of social media has led to the mainstreaming of this movement, especially on popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Within this article, the author states five problems with 'Take a Knee'. Majority of those problems go hand-in-hand, specifically falling back on the purpose of the protest. The number one reason many people in opposition of this protest is wondering what the clear goal is. This has stemmed from the change in framing from those who are against Kaepernick. The movement is no longer being associated with social injustices, but it is now being stated as something that discredits our military. The latter framing has been fueled tremendously by social media shedding a negative light on Kaepernick. Twitter has been the prime platform for those to get information on the movement. Social media has both positives and negatives for this social movement. With the continuation of social media, this movement has been put at the forefront during the NFL season, even having one Sunday where a hashtag, #takeaknee, was trending the whole day. For Kaepernick, social media has helped by getting his voice out there when he has given in-depth interviews, (Staggenborg, 55) and people were able to share those. More importantly without Kaepernick's huge platform, 'Take a Knee' probably would never taken off. With constant cameras being all over the football field, and fans with cellphones, they were able to capture his protest.
Kaepernick kneeling had a negative effect on his career once his contract was up. Using his platform to express his protest helped and hurt him. The protest still has participants in the NFL, even having a day where majority of the teams in some way knelt or locked arms before or during the National Anthem. Yet, those same teams have owners who publicly voiced the negative effects it has had on the NFL, such as the decline in ratings and sponsors. Even an owner, Bob McNair, going so far to say something along the lines, "we can't have the inmates running the prison". Those same exact owners were just hit with a collusion case from Kaepernick saying that his protest actions led them to not want to sign him, and not based solely on his inability to perform. Kaepernick's stats were rather good for a quarterback and quite a few injuries have happened to quarterbacks on multiple NFL teams, but why hasn't Kaepernick been signed? That is all the reasons why this collusion case has happened and Kaepernick not only has been highlighting police brutality and social injustice, but the unfair restrictions NFL owners put on their players.
Taking a knee has continued to happen over the course of this years football season, with its ups and downs. It started off small, gradually grew when majority of the teams did the action in some sort of fashion, then steadily decreased when owners said they would donate to causes that dealt with social injustice. Some are saying the owners are donating this insanely huge amount of money out of the goodness of their hearts, because they want to see a change in how our society is operating. Yet, others see this donation as a way to stop players from protesting, which has hurt the owners' pocketbooks and NFL ratings among other things in the league. This donation leaves it up to those who want to question the true motives behind NFL owners' decision to donate. Either way, Kaepernick's tactic of kneeling was not to have big donors send money to causes that help African Americans, even though it does help some, but Kaepernick knelt to show that this is more than money, being there needs to be a change within our justice system that targets African Americans.