Speak Of The Week: Colin Kaepernick
It’s our second edition of “Speak of the Week” column, a new feature on the Speakers’ Spotlight blog, which spotlights what we feel were the most important words spoken, from anywhere in the world, over the previous seven days.
This week, there were three potential stories in the running: soccer player Hope Solo’s suspension, based on her unsportsmanlike comments after the US loss to Sweden at the Olympics in Rio; French Prime Minister’s Manuel Valls’ address regarding the burkini controversy in France; and lastly, American NFL football quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s controversial move of sitting during the American national anthem during his games. Based on the passionate and eloquent explanation he delivered on Sunday in a post-game interview, we chose Colin Kaepernick as this round’s “Speak of the Week.”
While Colin’s initial stand was to sit quietly on his team bench and court no attention – from fans or the media alike – he did not shy away from explaining his method of protest when later questioned, bringing into balance the axiom that actions speak louder than words. For on Sunday, his words were truly as loud as his actions.
“This stand wasn’t for me,” he said during the press scrum. “This stand….is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice. People that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and affect change. So, I’m in a position where I can do that, and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.”
He went on to add that, “If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people….there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from. And if we reach common ground, and can understand what everybody’s going through, we can…make sure that everyone is treated equally and has the same freedom.”
It’s hard to disagree with anyone who chooses to use their influence to give a voice to the voiceless, and who shows that even if you’re sitting down, you can still step up to be heard.