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Hard Habit to Break: Core Football Fans May Say #ImWithKap But Will Continue To Watch
Musical celebrities like Common, Cardi B and Rihanna have a made a point of showing public support for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He’s been out of the NFL since 2017, following his protests of racial injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem. On Super Bowl Sunday, thousands of people declared support for the football namesake, using the hashtag #ImWithKap and calling for a boycott of the championship game.
Kal Alston is a professor at Syracuse University’s School of Education, whose research focus is on the intersections of popular culture/media with American experiences of race, class and gender.
“I did not watch Super Bowl LIII, but my Twitter timeline kept me up to speed. Most mentions I saw were by people not watching the game. They were #WithKap and have the same reasons I do for withholding any NFL support they may have once had – the NFL’s terrible record on domestic violence and lifetime impact of concussions. And the owners’ disgraceful response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest of state violence against black bodies.
“The NFL is big business, and it was still able to charge $5.3 million for 30 seconds of ad time in the game this year. So despite the absence of Cardi B and other Atlanta-based artists, the 10-year low in viewership, and the opting out of an entire class of people who want more accountability from the league – I don’t know that core fans are going to break the habit, except for team loyalty.
“I am not certain that most of them really know what Kaepernick is protesting as marked by the #hashtag. Hint: It is not the national anthem. Maybe in a year when the spectacle is not on the gridiron but in the nation’s capital, we can begin to speak about that more clearly.”
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