The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World

New Pr. Sept. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781620976753. $25.99. SPORTS
In August 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made a tremendous impact by protesting racial injustice and police brutality prior to a preseason NFL game against the Green Bay Packers, journalist and author Zirin (Jim Brown: Last Man Standing) writes. Before the game, Kaepernick sat on the bench and did not stand for the national anthem; he subsequently decided to “take a knee” when the national anthem played at future NFL games. The reactions to Kaepernick were far-reaching, including both praise and censure, as this book recounts. Zirin interviews athletes in various sports (at high school, college, and professional levels), coaches, and league officials about the effect of Kaepernick’s on-the-field protests, in which he was soon joined by other NFL players. The author also interviews athletes and coaches throughout the United States who protested racism on the field, court, or rink; many of them describe facing ostracization, condemnation, and even death threats for their activism.
VERDICT An insightful book about the wide-reaching effects of Kaepernick’s protests. This book is highly recommended and is necessary reading for all, especially those who want to make a difference in promoting social justice, equity, and inclusion, and end police brutality.
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