In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, then the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, was heavily criticized for kneeling instead of standing during the national anthem. The protest was on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement. As Kaepernick put it, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Recently, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers. In announcing his free agency, Kaepernick declared that in the upcoming National Football League season he will no longer kneel during the national anthem. However, he has not yet been signed by an NFL team. Some say that’s because his skills are declining. Others argue that quarterback-starved teams are avoiding him because of his protest.
But few disagree that Kaepernick was the target of a great deal of rage — as were the scores of African American high school, college and professional athletes who have engaged in similar protests. A 2016 Quinnipiac University Poll found that 54 percent of Americans say they disapprove of these protests. That number hides a divide by race: 74 percent of African Americans say they approve, while 63 percent of whites are opposed. We wondered whether that white opposition is related in part to racial attitudes. (Washington Post)