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The Kaepernick Effect

Not everyone is a fan of football, but everyone watches the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is not only about crowning a champion, it’s about commercials, wings, and of course the halftime performance. But this years’ Super Bowl felt different from the beginning. Many people say after the Patriots 13-3 victory over the Rams that the game was boring and dry. The commercials weren’t so impressive and for the Super Bowl to be in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium why couldn’t the committee find an artist from Atlanta? To top it all off, the Super Bowl LIII drew the smallest television audience in more than a decade and this all can be tracked back to the support for Colin Kaepernick.

Super Bowl LIII averaged about 98.2 million viewers on CBS, this was the lowest viewership since the 2007 Super Bowl. Of course, the viewership in New Orleans would be low based on the way the NFC Championship game was stolen from them. But this year’s Super Bowl had to face the wrath of the supporters of Colin Kaepernick. Many football fans and celebrities made it clear before the big game that they will be boycotting the Super Bowl in support of Kaepernick. Support of Kaepernick began back in August 2016 when he sat during the playing of the national anthem protesting police brutality. This grew to nationwide support and the kneeling of athletes all around the world. Kaepernick has yet to be signed to another team since the heat of his protest. He was able to get an endorsement with Nike in 2018 and they released a controversial ad that was backed and supported by LeBron James.

The NFL was under scrutiny for recruiting a white pop band to headline the halftime show in Atlanta, the heart of black culture. Many artists such as Rihanna and Jay-Z turned down the opportunity in support of the former NFL star. Cardi B was open to the Associated Press when she said, “there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him.” Director Ava DuVernay went to twitter and said, “I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #SuperBowl today in protest of the @NFL’s racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players”. “To watch the game is to compromise my beliefs. It’s not worth it. #ImWithKap.” The NFL needs to reconsider its stance on Colin Kaepernick, not letting him back into the league is not acknowledging the racial injustice that is happening in America because that is what he protested against and he shouldn’t be punished for it.

It is amazing to see the power of the black audience on the Super Bowl, if the entire black community stood on the side of Kaepernick and decided to no longer watch the Super Bowl or even the game of football in its entirety, then the league would significantly lose viewers, funding, fans, and eventually value.


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