Taking a Knee: Examining Controversial Speakers in Sports Protests

On October 17, 1968, Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos were forced to return their awards after they raised their fists in a black-power salute during the medal ceremony. In 2016 Colin Kaepernick (former quarterback of 49ers and now the face of Nike) took a knee during the national anthem in support of controversial movement “Black Lives Matter”. Another support to this movement was in 2018 when Rihanna was invited to perform at the Superbowl halftime show but declined the offer to support Kaepernick. This research paper will examine the effects of sports protests and consider whether they could be changed to a more effective approach. In addition to reviewing historical and current examples of sports protests, I completed a survey to examine current attitudes about these issues.