SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest of the often violent treatment of African-Americans and people of color in the United States has helped spark a national conversation and brought more visibility to the subject. Kaepernick first opted to sit during the anthem but is now kneeling when it is played before the start of games. It is a silent yet strong gesture, and one that he plans to continue until actual change occurs.
Other NFL players have followed Kaepernick’s lead and staged their own silent protests during the national anthem of the opening week’s slate of games. The movement is spreading, but will it cross into other professional sports leagues?
The question was posed to Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry at Tuesday’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. Curry was at the event to help promote Slyce, a social media app that he uses and invests in, and his charitable work with the grassroots campaign Nothing But Nets, which aims to fight the spread of malaria in Africa.
But since Curry was in San Francisco, home of the 49ers, (and he plays his home games across the bay in Oakland), the guard was asked what he plans to do during the national anthem next season. Curry has already gone on the record as a staunch supporter of Kaepernick’s actions, a stance he hasn’t altered. Yet Curry said he would take a different course of action when it comes to kneeling during the anthem.
“I’ll most likely stand,” Curry said. “Colin, if you follow the way he talks, the message he’s trying to send with his act, he’s not, from his mouth, disrespecting the veterans or the military. That’s not his intention. He’s obviously continued the act to create the conversation for more social justice and things of that nature. I’ve been a part of certain conversations off the grid, finding different ways to make our community better, especially for African-Americans. That’s not the way I’ll do it. But I support him in his attempt to start the conversation or continue the conversation.”
What works for Kaepernick doesn’t necessarily have to work for Curry. It doesn’t mean that Curry doesn’t believe what Kaepernick is doing isn’t right. It’s just that Curry prefers to address the treatment of African-Americans and people of color in the way that means the most to him, which may be a bit more under the radar. Curry, however, doesn’t plan on ignoring the issue and believes that meaningful change needs to happen.
“You just have to be true to yourself and understand both sides of the equation and be OK with the consequences, like Colin is,” Curry said. “My approach is is not going to please everyone and that’s what America is about. Some people agree with Colin, some don’t. But the common thread is that there is change that needs to be made.”