For taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of the injustices towards the African American community, Colin Kaepernick has become something of a household name. While many fellow athletes and fans have come out in support of the NFL player's protest and his right to do so, there are perhaps just as many whom it has incensed.
Kaepernick has been called unpatriotic and self-serving — Trent Dilfer said Kaepernick's job is to "be quiet" — and many racial epithets have been leveled at him. To some Americans, the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback is Public Enemy No. 1, so much so that a SportsCenter poll of 1,100 Americans found him to be "the most disliked player in the NFL."
Considering the survey's small sample size, it's by no means definitive. (The poll also found that Kaepernick's popularity dip is most drastic among whites; among African Americans, his popularity is at an all-time high.) But the poll does highlight just how Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem has become a source of contention among any Americans.
But one tweet by Twitter user @Kwesi put the anger directed at Kaepernick into perspective. @Kwesi, whose bio states that he is a student activist, noted all the controversies that other NFL players have been embroiled in — to much less outrage from the public.
"He didn't rape anyone. No domestic violence charge. No PED-use. Didn't cheat by deflating balls. He simply kneeled," he tweeted.
This week alone, two black men have been killed by the police under suspicious circumstances. Terence Crutcher was walking back to his car with his hands up in the air when a police officer fatally shot him. The day after, Keith Lamont Scott was shot to death by the police. The events leading up to his death are still under investigation. Scott's shooting sparked a riot in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Kaepernick protests in order to make a point about these sort of police shootings that disproportionately affect black people. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said of his protest previously. ?To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way."