Colin Kaepernick's ongoing protest of police brutality has moved from local TV news to the national magazine world, with the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback set to appear, kneeling, on the October 3 cover of Time magazine. Kaepernick's decision to kneel instead of stand during the national anthem drew national attention in August, and since that time players around the country have joined his protest in solidarity.
Titled "The Perilous Fight," the article (firewalled for subscribers only) promises to discuss how the "National anthem protests led by Kaepernick are fueling a debate about privilege, pride, and patriotism." When asked about his motivation back in August, the quarterback told NFL.com that "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Since his protest began, according to ESPN, players with the Seattle Seahawks, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Miami Dolphins have all joined in in one form or another. "It's our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed," read a statement from the Chiefs following three of the team's players' decision to kneel during the national anthem. "Together we are going to continue to have conversations, educate ourselves and others on social issues and work with local law enforcement officials and leaders to make an impact on the Kansas City community."
Closer to home, the Niners head coach Chip Kelly has also come out in support of Kaepernick's protest. "I think it’s an issue — you look at what’s gone on in Tulsa and in Charlotte the last two nights — it’s an issue that’s at the forefront of our country,” Kelly told the Chronicle, referencing the recent protests over the shooting deaths of black men at the hands of police. “And it needs to be addressed and be taken care of because what’s going on is not right. So I think, again, he’s shedding light on a situation that is heinous."
Kelly went further, noting that "We all have inalienable rights as a citizen and this country and they’re being violated. And I think that’s what Colin is standing up for.”
The 49ers have taken some heat for the organization's support of Kaepernick, including a threat by the Santa Clara Police to stop providing security at games which never panned out.
As far as why Time chose the star for its next cover, a spokesperson for the magazine told TMZ that "After Colin Kaepernick’s protest, the movement has become widespread and public facing, from the rest of the NFL to high schools and colleges across the country — and that is why Time put him on the cover."
Indeed, one of those high schools was right here in San Francisco, with the entire Mission High School football team taking a knee during the national anthem earlier this month.
Sports law professor Jeremi Duru at American University in Washington recently told the SF Chronicle, regarding the trend, "Throughout the nation, athletes on different levels are finding their voice and recognizing that they have a platform. [And] we haven’t seen this level of athlete activism in nearly half a century."
Since his protest began, Kaepernick's jersey has become the top selling jersey in the NFL store.
The magazine hits news stands tomorrow.
Previously: Santa Clara Police Threaten To Boycott Policing Levi's Stadium Over Kaepernick's Protest
Check Out Colin Kaepernick's Police Pig Socks
49ers' Kaepernick Will Continue To Sit During National Anthem To 'Stand With The People'