colin kaepernick

Though the backlash to Colin Kaepernick’s weekly national anthem protest has likely been stronger than the quarterback anticipated, it seems that the positive fallout from his actions has been grander than expected as well.

Kaepernick has started a true national conversation, won a few converts and inspired dozens of other athletes to join in his protest. He has become something of a civil rights hero and a symbol of the ongoing movement for racial justice. This week, a striking image of him in his now-signature kneel will appear on the cover of Time, next to a tease reading, “National anthem protests led by Colin Kaepernick are fueling a debate privilege, pride and patriotism.”

Some people have suggested that Kaepernick’s protest is misguided because it doesn’t come with specific goals or a course of action for bringing about change, but that’s not really the point. The QB has used his position as a public figure to call attention to a problem, spark conversation about it and shift the national consensus just a little bit in his direction. No football player is ever going to take down a web of racist systems single-handedly, but if enough people do their part to pressure the powers that be, eventually momentum builds for real change.

The Time cover is further evidence that Kaepernick’s protest has been about as successful as anyone could have dreamed.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.