The NFL season will start in earnest in a few short weeks, and Colin Kaepernick is still not among the quarterbacks getting ready to play in training camp. Instead, Wednesday night marked an important milestone not in his career, but in protest in America.
Wednesday marked the three year anniversary of Kaepernick’s nonviolent protest of police brutality against people of color, a protest he started while a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. The protest drew admiration and outrage across the sports and political world, as other players joined him in refusing to stand for the national anthem before sporting events. And on Wednesday, Kaepernick posted a video to Instagram marking the anniversary and chronicling what’s happened in the years since he first sat down.
“Today marks the three year anniversary of the first time I protested systemic oppression,” Kaepernick wrote. “I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement! The movement has always lived with the people!”
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systemic oppression. I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement! The movement has always lived with the people! : @relrelrelrel
A post shared by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on Aug 14, 2019 at 3:05pm PDT
“How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that propagates freedom and justice for all that’s so unjust for so many of the people living in it,” a voiceover narrates.
The video is graphic and a bit disturbing, but that’s the point. Acts of police brutality against people of color have been captured on video a number of times over the years, even in the wake of Kaepernick’s protest. The fact that they exist and, in many cases, no justice is found make his protest as important as ever.
The video then shows his protest in action, first sitting on the bench during the anthem and later kneeling during the rest of the preseason and then regular season as he played for the Niners. The video includes his quotes in the media and words from others impacted by police brutality and what Kaepernick’s protest meant to them.
Kaepernick hasn’t seen the field since the season in which he started the protest ended, now going on two years of effectively being excluded from the NFL. Despite that, he’s stayed busy, and through campaigns with Nike and his own organization he’s continued to raise awareness of the issue. This video is a lot, but it’s certainly continuing that job as well.