Reflections on the Kaepernick Effect
by Genesis Rivera '19
On September 28th, Hofstra’s NAACP held a talk called “the Kaepernick Effect” discussing the #TakeaKnee movement that has been in the spotlight for some time, especially when Trump called protesters “sons of bitches”. Several issues such as the whitewashing of the movement, the treatment of women by Munroe Bergdorf and Jemele Hill, and the third stanza of the national anthem were discussed, but for minority clubs on campus, one small highlight was the attendance of athletes who had not been part of the social justice environment on campus.
While few may acknowledge or even realize it, student members of minority organizations at Hofstra have long shaken their heads at some of our NCAA team members, who seem disconnected from the rest of the campus community. When the NAACP, Black Student Union, or any other club holds an event, we can expect a certain amount of Black students, Latino students, White students, students in Greek life, and even academics to attend. No one, however, holds their breath for attendance by members of the sports teams, including the athletes of color. Nevertheless, when asked whether they would take a knee at games this semester, two basketball players and two soccer players, who attended to learn more about the issues, gave their perspectives on how this will impact their own games.
If you’re wondering what will happen, don’t expect anyone to take a stand at any renditions of the national anthem this season. Largely because of the restrictions that the NCAA and Hofstra University places on our athletes, they are worried about the status of their scholarships and their standing on the teams that they are using as a stepping stone to launch their careers and feed their families. These student athletes, however, expressed how they wholeheartedly supported the cause and gave unique and intelligent perspectives on national issues.
There are constant complaints from coaches and players that the Hofstra community does not support the basketball team specifically at their games. From the perspective of the minority students who are a part of our social justice oriented community, this was due to the lack of interest and support we received from the basketball team at events and discussions on campus. If you don’t know the players and they seem not to care about the things that are vitally important to you then why would you go to a game?