In his Nike commercial, Colin Kaepernick says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” In his comments after receiving the W.E.B Du Bois Medal from Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & American Research, Kaepernick expanded on that message.
“If we all believe in something, we won’t have to sacrifice everything,” Kaepernick said near the end of his relatively brief remarks, via Eric Kane of WHDH-TV. “And in thinking about the initiation of this protest, this stance, and where we’re at currently, I go back to something I said in a speech previously, that love is at the root of our resistance, and it will continue to be, and it will fortify everything that we do.”
Kaepernick also shared a story of visiting a youth football team that took a knee during the national anthem shortly after Kaepernick began his protest.
“I’m in the locker room with them, they’re getting ready, they’re getting prepped,” Kaepernick said. “And I hear them talking back and forth and getting hyped up. And one of the young brothers says, ‘We don’t get to eat at home, so we’re going to eat on this field.’ That moment has never left me. And I think that’s the reality of what I fought for, what so many of us have fought for. People live with this every single day. And we expect them to thrive in situations where they’re just trying to survive.
“And I feel like it’s not only my responsibility, but all our responsibilities as people of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower them. Because if we don’t we become complicit in the problem. It is our duty to fight for them and we are going to continue to fight for them.”
The live stream of Kaepernick’s comments was blocked, with the following message appearing while he spoke: “Due to the current litigation of W.E.B. Du Bois medalist Colin Kaepernick. No press photography or video livestream will be allowed of his remarks.” Nothing in the remarks, however, would seem to undermine his litigation. The fact that the comments ultimately were made available to the media makes the decision to keep the video of his words from being seen and heard as they were being delivered even more curious.