By Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5W PR
As the saga of One Kneeling Backup moves into the third week of the young NFL season, fans are still barking at each other over Colin Kaepernick’s choice to protest American race relations by sitting out the anthem.
Some – many, in fact – are fighting mad. Absolutely furious about the QBs choice of protest. Others are standing and cheering as Kaepernick continues to kneel. In the early going, the big discussion was about whether or not this was the right way to protest.
But, as narratives will, this one is evolving. People are beginning to wonder, as this stretches on, what’s really going on here.
Some out there are asking if Kaepernick is serious about this, or if he’s just playing everyone. Here’s the narrative: he HAD to know the furor his protests would cause. He understands the NFL fan base after all. So, he did this KNOWING people would freak out.
“…take a step back,” the story continues, “look at the guy through the scope of history. In a generation, he would either be a footnote, some random backup, another flash in the pan who didn’t pan out in the bigs. OR he could be The Guy Who Led the Protest that got everyone to the table about race issues in America…”
Maybe that’s an idealized version of possible events, but it does have a plausible ring to it. Here’s a guy who would be an afterthought by this time in the season. Instead, his name is being uttered on networks from ESPN to CNN almost every day. Sure, most people are angry, but a large minority are taking his side … and that includes other NFL players.
Professor David Firester recently noted, “As more fans are streaming, players are lining up to kneel beside Colin. Folks who don’t follow football are cheering. BOTH sides are buying Kaepernick jerseys, some to burn, others to celebrate. Again … this guy nearly got cut from the team a few weeks ago. In fact, that was the leading story out of Niners camp before he took a knee. What was Colin’s future? Now we know. A star turn in the spotlight, both villain and hero.”