Colin Kaepernick has been on my mind for a while, he’s the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ners and he became a trending topic when he refused to stand for the national anthem of the United States just before one of their preseason games.
His reason was the oppression of people of colour in the country and the repeated episodes of police brutality on African Americans especially. Colin has faced tremendous backlash for his action, from heated tweets and posts condemning him to angry fans burning his jersey to even his birth mother calling him out for his action.
However Colin has continued his silent protest, several football players have joined the protest and it is driving conversation in that country and bringing certain issues to light and enlightening a section of the population that would not have been reached in such an arresting manner.
As I follow the saga, I get an increasing sense of wonder. I am watching history unfold and I have a front row seat, it’s exciting really. Just like Rosa Parks and her famous refusal to stand up for a white man and how she invigorated the civil rights movement at the time, Colin is breathing life to the Black Lives Matter movement and flashing the issues on giant billboards literally and figuratively.
Colin didn’t need to step up for this role, he’s a rich and famous and handsome (I have eyes na) football player who has a life of privilege ahead of him. He was adopted and raised by white parents, it wasn’t like he owed the black community anything. He could even pass for white (some Black people condemned him for hijacking their cause, they didn’t even know his father was African-American). But he chose to take a stand against oppression, to use the platform he had to push the issues that meant the most to him.
There are thousands of Black celebrities who have not even whispered about the oppression and police brutality suffered by Black people, many of them even have better platforms than Colin yet their silence echoes.
Sometimes I feel inadequate in the face of many things I face daily, I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of work to be done in order to make Nigeria a little better. Colin just like Rosa Parks before him have shown me again and again that sometimes, all you need to do is sit down.