The Kaepernick Effect
Taking a Knee, Changing the World
The New Press, 2021
Professional football player Colin Kaepernick took a knee and a nation rose up.
National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick couldn’t have foreseen how much his decision to kneel during The Star Spangled Banner would upend the United States. The then-San Francisco 49er knelt down on one knee prior to the national anthem at a preseason game in 2016 to protest racism and police brutality. He paid a dear price as NFL team owners effectively banned him from playing. His singular gesture established the foundation of a sweeping movement that forced America to confront racism. Dave Zirin discusses the backlash and fallout when other Black athletes and coaches replicated Kaepernick's actions. Zirin’s outstanding work explores sports as a vehicle for social and political reform.
About the Author
Dave Zirin, the first sports editor of The Nation and a columnist for The Progressive, hosts the “Edge of Sports” podcast. Utne magazine named him one of the “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World.” Zirin's other books include: People’s History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play; Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love; and Jim Brown: Last Man Standing.
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