June 09, 2020
Goodell’s reversal means kneeling will become just another patriotic thing to do during the anthem, but the mainstreaming of ideas once dismissed as radical shows protest works
Colin Kaepernick sacrificed it all for this moment. Now the work begins
From the moment Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality and systemic racism before a San Francisco 49ers preseason game back in 2016, he stood alone while the meaning of his silent demonstration was hijacked, contorted and undermined by detractors cloaked in patriotism, either misguidedly or deliberately, as a protest against the US MILITARY. The most tremendous of these bad actors was, of course, Donald Trump, at an Alabama rally the following year when he infamously challenged the league’s owners to release anyone who refused to stand: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” 
Rather than back the players’ right to freedom of expression, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gifted Trump a decisive optical victory early in his administration by unveiling a policy requiring every player, coach, trainer, ballboy, referee and executive to stand for the anthem or face punishment. 
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