Perhaps its a tribute to how fast things change nowadays or the shortening of attention spans in the social media era, but an issue that was on the front pages a mere six months ago seems appeared to have been resolved and has been confined to the back pages.
It’s been revealed that Colin Kaepernick, who has opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, will end his kneeldown protest during the national anthem.
Kaepernick said he’s abandoning the protest since it has accomplished its goal, to draw attention to the plight of black Americans.
Of course, the cynics in cyberspace and elsewhere, at least those who are not distracted by the flavor-of-the-day crises in Washington, Indianapolis and, yes, even Bowling Green or Sweden, will point out that he’s dropping the protest mostly because he’ll be on the job market.
Or maybe they just stopped paying attention since there was nothing more to be outraged about over Kaepernick.
There were those that doubted his sincerity, claimed it was a ploy to get into the starting lineup, or an attempt to impress his girlfriend, he shouldn’t be paid attention to because he was not a starter or he would only pay lip service to his beliefs.
But, having missed the bus the first time, why keep waiting for that ride that’s long been discontinued?
We’re seeing efforts to address the issues, not only financially (Kaepernick’s foundation is donating $1 million to community groups, a figure the 49ers matched, according to Rolling Stone), but an increase in social awareness among athletes, no doubt sparked by Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1968 Olympics.
In the NBA, for example, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been quite vocal about social issues, as has star player Steph Curry.
Also, LeBron James was a supporter of Hilliary Clinton during the presidential race, several member of the New England Patriots have announced they will not visit the Trump White House with the rest of the team, and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler has been adamant about his opposition to Trump’s immigration ban that has since been struck down by the courts.
Even the critics have to admit his protest did not play a role in his play on the field, which was more a product of the flustercluck that’s become the 49ers in the Levi’s Stadium era.
As for concerns he’d be a distration, well, his teammates did give him the Len Eshmont Award for inspirtational and courageous play.
And, needless to say, the donations did show he was putting his money where is mouth was.
Perhaps this is why we are hearing so little about this from the social media outrage machine: He answered all his critics and then some.
And the cause has been advanced.