Colin Kaepernick: Making a Difference Off the Field

December 8, 2017

Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t always the popular thing.

Last year, as a form of protest, former 49ers NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel instead of stand for the national anthem at the beginning of a football game. He was protesting events happening around the country—people being treated poorly and unfairly because of their race—that just didn’t sit well with him. Using his star-status, he decided to do something that would make the world take notice. Well, the world did take notice, but not everyone agreed with his actions. Some thought that his kneeling during the national anthem was disrespectful of the men and women who fight to defend and protect the United States every day. Others agreed with his actions. Whichever side you’re on, one thing’s for sure: He ignited a conversation about the racial injustices and police brutality happening throughout the United States.

This week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nonprofit that works to “defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone,” honored Mr. Kaepernick with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award. This award is given to someone who takes a stand, knowing that they might be criticized for their actions, or in Mr. Kaepernick’s case, lose a job that he loved and was really good at. And it doesn’t look like the ACLU is the only organization that thinks Mr. Kaepernick is doing something incredible. Earlier this year, GQ magazine named him Citizen of the Year, and Sports Illustrated, another magazine, honored him with the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, which honors those who “embody the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership, and philanthropy and have used sports as a platform for changing the world.”

How might you change the world or take a stand for what you believe in?