Sports fans all across the world always have an extra ear out to see what celebrities, politicians, and other public figures have to say about their favourite teams. It’s not often that you hear of many controversial responses to the actions of major sports leagues, but when you do, they’re usually pretty notable.
Many remember Colin Kaepernick taking over the headlines in 2016 after kneeling during the national anthem before one of the 49ers’ games, but it was Amy Schumer’s input on the ongoing controversy that recently caught the media’s attention.
Schumer reached out to try and discourage any support towards the NFL until they acknowledge and suppress the racism that has occurred within the organization. With fans and teams gearing up for the 2019 Super Bowl, Schumer found that now was the appropriate time to address her concerns. She raised the question via an Instagram post last week as to why more white NFL players don’t kneel during the anthem, writing, “Once you witness the truly deep inequality and endless racism people of color face in our country, not to mention the police brutality and murders. Why not kneel next to your brothers? Otherwise how are you not complicit?”
Although punishment (by way of fines) has been given to those who won’t standing during the anthem, Kaepernick has managed to raise a great deal of social awareness to a critical topic of conversation, and his initiative has influenced other NFL players to do the same.
The kneeling is intended more to address the nation and society as a whole with regards to inequalities and police brutality, rather than the NFL. However, the organization’s lack of action is cause for concern in itself. Whether or not some members of the NFL organization appreciate the intentions behind the protest, it won’t be fully recognized by society until action is taken. In response to the questioning received regarding his reasons behind kneeling, Kaepernick has simply stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour”.
In her online post, Schumer also added applause for Rihanna, who turned down the offer to play the halftime show during the upcoming Super Bowl. Both women have thus continued the encouragement for other public figures to stand up against the organization so long as this issue remains present.
So, where does the consensus lie? Is Schumer helping the cause by appreciating Kaepernick’s intentions and actions, or is the racism and inequality present in our society unrelated to America’s beloved game?