Media Critique: Alternative Facts and (Mis)Representation in the News, Entertainment, and Advertising:Kaepernick’s Campaign
Who is Kaepernick?
On September 1st of 2016, Colin Kaepernick, a previous NFL player opted to kneel for the national anthem. He has made a huge impact on the NFL, football fans throughout the country, along with his sponsor, Nike. Even though this happened years ago it is still is part of athletic history and is continuously mentioned. In this video, you can see and hear Kaepernick’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwlopXMTzS4
On September 3rd, 2018, almost two years later, The New York Times released an article titled, Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Campaign Keeps N.F.L. Anthem Kneeling in Spotlight. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/03/sports/kaepernick-nike.html)
In this article, Kevin Draper and Ken Belson describe Kaepernick’s story and the controversies him, his team, and his sponsor (Nike) faced and continue to face. His reasoning behind kneeling for the anthem is because he feels as a man of color, he is not treated equally, and America is discriminative towards his race. He says on NFL.com “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”. Being a famous football player, he clearly has a big fan base. He uses the publicity and opportunity of being on live TV with millions of viewers to protest by taking a knee. However, as expected, this raises some serious issues.
The national anthem is a sacred part of any nation’s history because it symbolizes and shows respect towards the people who dedicated their lives to protecting the country. Every time the anthem is played, it represents unity and freedom. There are some unwritten rules whenever the anthem is played. For example, one is supposed to remove their hats, stay silent, and stand for the national anthem. By doing this, people show respect and pride towards the people who dedicated their lives by protecting this wonderful country. Kaepernick decided to kneel for the anthem, which is played before every NFL game, in protest for certain reasons. Now, his intentions may not have been to disrespect the country, but he shows this by kneeling for the anthem. Many veterans have come forward and said that what Kaepernick is doing is disrespectful and hurtful towards them and the entire country. For people who have served and risked their lives for our country, to see someone disrespect a nation they have worked so hard to protect is rightly so offensive towards these men and women. Kaepernick displayed this disrespect on a national level every Sunday.
In it for the Money
Colin Kaepernick has made a fortune off of protesting the national anthem. His main reasoning for kneeling during was in protest to promote rights for minorities. Now, it seems like he is in it for the money. He has received various endorsements where he uses his platform to promote a product, that has nothing to do with minority rights. For example, Nike recently used Kaepernick in a major advertisement campaign and made him the face of Nike. According to these statistics by Time, http://time.com/5390884/nike-sales-go-up-kaepernick-ad/, Nikes sales went up 31 percent when he became the face of a new line. Kaepernick received a massive paycheck after this. In the New York Times article, it explains that Nike has received a lot of backlash from this advertisement campaign. This is because of the polarizing aspects of Kaepernick, and how controversial he truly is. Also, he recently came to settlement with the NFL over this controversy. Kaepernick is making millions from this new deal, and there are still racial issues and discrimination occurring. Reports have surfaced that Kaepernick has turned down multiple offers to play football again. It seems that he is more interested in making money, then playing football. Since he stopped playing football and started taking a knee, Kaepernick has increased his salaries and net worth because of his increased fame.
Alternative Ways to Protest
There are different ways for Kaepernick to protest and advocate for rights for different people. It is not necessary for him to take a knee during the national anthem, which shows disrespect towards a large population of people. In the past, people have protested for various things, and they did it in a manner that did not offend anyone or generate as much controversy as Kaepernick. Instead of kneeling, Kaepernick have chosen a different method protest. The issue of racism and being seen as lesser because you are a colored person is clearly a big problem in our society. He should have done something about these feelings, he just went about it the wrong way. Kaepernick who was already famous for being a professional football player used his fame to convey a message. This is a common trend because fans who see someone they look up to sharing an opinion about something typically makes these fans agree. It was right for him to convey this message and spread awareness however there are so many other appropriate options that would have been effective and at the same time not offend or disrespect this country or nation. For example, he could have used media as a source to spread awareness. Now a days, social media is a huge part of society for all ages and types of people. There are sights such as Instagram and twitter where he had thousands of followers even before hand. He could have used something along these lines and take advantage of his fan base to make his point.
Was it Worth it?
Kaepernick has been a major advocate for promoting rights for minority groups and has kicked started being a leader through taking a knee during the anthem. For his personal gain and as the article makes it out to be, to him it was worth it. The news article perceives this man to own up to his stance and actions with absolutely no regrets. For him it seems to be most certainly worth it and he is receiving more publicity than ever. Another deal he still had set up was his contract with Nike. This sponsorship and campaign made him extremely wealthy. Maybe in the end it does come down to the money for him. He knew going into his actions that people would be unhappy and that their would be people retaliating against him because his actions were so serious.
Thinking of all the lives that are affected by this is endless. There are veterans which now not only don’t support him but speak out against him. A large amount of people are against his actions as well as Nike for promoting such a stance. Another impact that is over looked that is not mentioned in the article are all the children growing up and watching this. In our country, the National Anthem is about respect. In this situation, our country was disrespected. For these kids to watch their idol on TV kneeling for the anthem no matter their skin color, they aspire to be like him and may quite possibly begin to do mimic similar actions because they want to be like the person they look up to. Unfortunately, kids see this and think it’s okay to do not knowing any better because they are unaware of the big picture.