Colin Kaepernick’s brave and controversial refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest of systemic racism against black people has spurred an ocean of bad takes, because that’s what controversies do. That’s the punishment Kaep will have to suffer in service to his cause, because a protest isn’t a protest if everyone’s on the same side. When he made his decision, he was at peace with doing it alone, but now it appears at least one will stand with him: rookie Eagles linebacker Myke Tavarres.
“Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it,” Tavarres said of sitting Saturday night. “And usually I’m front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that’s since pre-K all the way up. Saturday’s game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn’t feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.”
It’s a heartening sign that someone has decided to stand (metaphorically) with Kaepernick so quickly, and perhaps it bodes well for more widespread protest. The more people that sit, the harder it will be for any individual protestor to be punished. While Kaep specifically cited his job security as a factor that allowed him to protest, wondering if others were scared to lose their job, Tavarres was undrafted and is fighting for one of the last roster spots this year. Even so, even while making himself the dreaded “distraction,” he’s resolute:
“In this situation, I’ve really got nothing to lose,” he said. “I’m a rookie free agent, haven’t signed any major contract, so there’s not a lot of money on the line, I don’t have any big endorsement deals on the line. Really what’s at stake is my pride and what kind of man would I be and what kind of African-American would I be if I didn’t stand my ground on this issue we have today?
“[It] needs to be done. Will there be backlash? Probably. I don’t think anyone has bought my jersey yet, so I don’t know if it’s going to be burned, but it’s a major issue and I’m definitely going to stand my ground for this one.”