Media – especially social media – can help build a career, a company or a brand, but it can also end a career, a company or a brand. More important it has become a place where anyone who has internet access can speak out. Sometimes things take off, videos go viral and the whole world is watching some random person do something funny. But it can be bigger than that. For athletes, media has become a platform to voice their opinions, bring attention to certain causes or raise money for charity.
Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has been outspoken on social issues through social media for a while now. However, he is best known for taking a knee during the Star Spangled Banner in protest again police brutality. This action, that started in late August, quickly became a national phenomenon and media frenzy.
A timeline in an article by Mark Sandritter for SB Nation shows how quickly the movement spread and when different athletes joined in. By early September, Kaepernick’s message had spread beyond football when soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt before a game. Soon after NBA teams, high schools and other NFL stars were all participating some were kneeling others were raising a fist. The message was being spread.
Within and beyond the sports world, there were mixed feelings about the way this protest was being held. Many fans took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the matter.
Miami Dolphins running back Arion Foster
New York Giants guard Justin Pugh
Bleacher Report writer Mike Freeman
The conversation moved on from social media and became a hot topic for talk shows. At the end of September Marshawn Lynch, during his interview on Conan, said that he would rather see Kaepernick “take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered”. Athletes started raising funds for families who were affected by police brutality and the conversation grew.
Colin Kaepernick continues to be active with social issues on Twitter and during interviews. His Twitter feed is full of retweets from different organizations that stand up against police brutality. According to an article in USA Today by Nancy Armour, Kaepernick is currently reaching out to organizations who are in need of donations. He shows no signs of giving up on the conversation that he put his career on the line for.