Colin Kaepernick May Have Taken A Knee To Protest Racial Violence, But One Group Decided To Stand Up For Him

Why they won't take Sundays sitting down.

A new group is boycotting the NFL as a direct response to former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick's seeming unemployment after he refused to stand for the national anthem in 2016.

The organization, Black0ut, launched its public boycott against the league in August with a video outlining its reasons for the decision, which stems from Kaepernick's decision to speak up and protest against violence toward minority groups, specifically by police officers.

In the video, several men from different backgrounds and parts of Alabama metaphorically "black out" specific NFL teams by covering the jerseys they're wearing with a black T-shirt. Each man gives a brief statement to let the NFL know why they refuse to watch any games this season because of its "fear of backlash" from sponsors and fans if they were to support Kaepernick's protest, according to the group.

"If [Kaepernick] was willing to take a knee for us, certainly we ought to take a stand and stand with him," founder and pastor Debleaire Snell said in the video.

Black0ut has four clear goals to make their boycott a success: stop purchasing any NFL paraphernalia, dedicate time to community service projects, spread the word to encourage others to stop giving the league money, and take part in a daily prayer.

"Let's take the time that would normally be given to the NFL and give back to our boys and girls," a pastor named Carlton P. Byrd said in response to contributing more time to community service and less on football.

Another pastor, David Lee, elaborates that Black0ut believes the men involved are standing up for the equal rights of their American peers.

"This is not a boycott, but a 'mancott,' " he said. "Because this demonstration is not for boys, it's for men of strong conviction."

But Black0ut isn't a male-dominated cause. Women are also taking steps towards voicing their opposition towards the NFL this season.

A group of women who support Kaepernick's protest teamed up to produce a YouTube video reiterating the same action plans outlined in Black0ut's original video. 

"We support this movement not just because they asked us to stop watching," one woman said in the video, while another one followed with, "because they asked us to start doing."  

The men of Black0ut continue to not stand alone in the fight for justice for Kaepernick's football career.

Despite claims that Kaepernick's protest was anti-police, about 80 officers from the New York Police Department gathered at Brooklyn Bridge Park on August 19 to show their support by donning black T-shirts that said "#IMWITHKAP."

Sgt. Edwin Raymond told The New York Times he can confirm that Kaepernick's take on police violence addresses issues he believes exist in his line of work and the criminal justice system, and that nothing of what Kaepernick stood for is offensive to him as an officer.

"They said he disrespected law enforcement," he said. "Well, I'm law enforcement, and he didn't disrespect me."

Rapper Ice Cube is also an advocate for Kaepernick's protest, saying that the beauty in being American is having the freedom to do what you want during a song like the national anthem.

"It is easier to talk about the distraction than it is to deal with the real problem that he is protesting, which is police brutality," he said to TheWrap. "Our society likes to take the easy route when dealing with hard subjects. Them not standing, not taking the knee — and we're not caught up in the original issue, which is long gone. We talk about the smoke and not the fire."

A Plus has reached out to Black0ut for comment.

Cover image: Instagram | YouTube


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