Colin Kaepernick, The NFL, The White House and the Politics and Business of Race and Nationalism

Colin Kaepernick, The NFL, The White House and the Politics and Business of Race and Nationalism

What began as a low-key protest by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick spiraled into one of the most controversial issues of the past decade. Kaepernick’s action of taking a knee during the national anthem before games were defined by him to be a protest against racial injustice and police violence against people of color. But it eventually embroiled large swathes of the American population on opposing sides, with supporters praising Kaepernick for exercising his right to free speech and standing up for victims and opponents slamming Kaepernick for disrespect to the anthem and disloyalty to his country.

In addition to impacting the NFL and its fans, players and advertisers the conflict eventually involved the President of the United States who chastised team owners and the NFL for their inability to control their employees, the player. In a surprise twist furthering the controversy, Nike named Colin Kaepernick as their new face in a profit-generating move. Nike’s decision to stand firmly behind Kaepernick and make him the worldwide image of their company created strong support as well as furious counter-reactions that they had to navigate, while networks, advertisers and others athletic icons like Le Bron James also became involved in the ongoing controversy.

The near-term resolution saw Nike receive a hefty $6 billion stock bump, as well as some counter-reaction of angry fans burning their Nike gear and some secondary institutional boycotts of the brand, such as by the College of the Ozarks athletic department.

The Identity Post will continue to monitor and update the Take A Knee Movement.  The Full report details what happened with Kaepernick, the NFL, The White House, the United States Military and why. The Full Report also presents lessons learned and recommendations to help your organization, community, and its leaders learn to apply Identity Intelligence as part of their decision-making process. Community Members read a summary of the report below.

Identity Intelligence Lab Members

Read The Full Report
Colin Kaepernick, The NFL, The White House
and the Politics and Business of Race and Nationalism

Summary Stage 1: The Beginning

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick begins protesting racism in the United States and police violence against black men by sitting on the bench during the playing of the national anthem before games. His protest is preceded by America’s long history of toxic anti-black racism and incidents like the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri, which caused widespread rioting and national protest that contributed to racial polarization. At first Kaepernick’s protest draws minimal attention, but it begins to spiral into a controversy as conservatives accuse Kaepernick of supporting violence against police and associate him with the most extreme (and fringe) black nationalist elements of the Black Lives Matter Movement. After consulting with Green Beret veteran and fellow NFLer Nate Boyer, Kaepernick switches to kneeling during the anthem as a more respectful gesture of protest. This begins to draw even more attention, especially as other players across the league – black, of color and white – begin to join in Kaepernick’s protest.

v   Polling shows that race and political belief have a major impact on how the Kaepernick situation is perceived and judged, with the majority saying it is “never appropriate” to kneel during the national anthem.

🔑“By a 69 percent to 22 percent margin, more African-Americans said protests of the national anthem were acceptable than not. Yet over half of white (58 percent) and Hispanic adults (54 percent) said anthem protests are never appropriate. Whites are internally divided along partisan lines: 87 percent of white Republicans said it is never appropriate to kneel during the national anthem, compared with 24 percent of white Democrats.”

Summary Stage 2: Increasing Ideological Polarization

Two main sides emerge in the Kaepernick controversy. These sides were already intensifying in their conflicting identities prior to his protest especially during clashes over police use of force against minorities and in the intense rhetoric and conflict during the 2016 federal election but Kaepernick’s protest triggers the most intense reactions from both sides, bringing them fully to the fore in a sustained manner.

On one side you have a majority of white, conservative (Ideology) Americans who tend to be more likely to be of middle or older age and rate highly in honoring the US flag, military and nationalist conceptions of patriotism as being defined by loyalty and respectful behavior around symbols and ceremonies relating to the nation such as the flag and anthem. (Core Values) Kaepernick, in their view, crosses this line with his protest and is a grandstanding, privileged celebrity who is hijacking what should be a fun, patriotic football game with an immature stunt by “playing the race card,” not to mention spreading animosity against police and white Americans more broadly.

On the other side, you have a majority of more liberal Americans (Ideology) who tend to be of younger age, include more people of color and conceive of patriotism as based on principles and equality above and beyond unconditional respect to the flag and anthem. This group sees Kaepernick’s protest as a brave stand for civil rights and equality (Core Values) that expresses the heart of what being an American is all about in demanding rights for all. Kaepernick’s jerseys begin selling in large quantities as supporters express their admiration for him and left-leaning media outlets begin giving him widespread and sympathetic coverage.

v Poll: Liberals vs. Conservatism: NFL National anthem protests sees a wide GOP-Democrat split on kneeling

🔑”72% of Democrats say kneeling is appropriate, versus 23% who say it isn’t. For Republicans, the numbers are basically reversed, with 10% appropriate, 88% not.”

Identity Intelligence Lab Members Read The Full Report
Colin Kaepernick, The NFL, The White House
and the Politics and Business of Race and Nationalism




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