Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


The Knee That Shook America: A Case Study of Colin Kaepernick and Historical Analysis of Protest Public Deposited

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  • America is said to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. With the unfair treatment of people of color in this country, however, one would believe that somewhere in the fine print, they were excluded from that phrase. The very foundation of this country was established through the free labor of slavery. Simultaneously, the ideology of racism has promoted white supremacy and terrorized people of color nationwide. It has been perpetuated that racism is an ideal of the past, however recent events prove this to be very wrong. When Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee to protest racial injustice and police brutality against communities of color, it sparked an outrage that divided the United States along racial lines. After opting out his contract, he has since found himself labeled unpatriotic and has been unable to sign a subsequent contract. This led to an additional controversy regarding his belonging in the league. This thesis intends to incorporate the disciplines of economics, ethnic studies, and business administration to intersectionally analyze the controversy that became the latter part of Kaepernick’s career. It will analyze historical implications of his protest, as well as quantitatively investigate the conversation of his belonging in the NFL. It will also evaluate the financial burden the protest had on the NFL’s respective organizations. Finally, the results of Nike’s 30th anniversary ad campaign featuring Kaepernick will be analyzed, accounting for the price of doing business with him. These results indicate that not only does Kaepernick belong in the league, but the strength of stance taken in protest had little to no effect on end of year financial values of the respective teams and corporations. With a vast literature on athletes whose activism caused them similar fates, I introduce a case of disparate impact in their defense.
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