While many people around the country get ready to sit down in front of their televisions for Super Bowl Sunday, the hashtag #ImWithKap is trending as people vow to boycott the game in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
The former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers is known for kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games in protest against racial injustice oppression in the United States. His movement gained attention and encouraged other players to participate in their own passive resistance.
In 2017, President Trump weighed in on the issue, urging the NFL to fire players who kneel during the anthem, calling those who kneel “sons of b**ches.” In 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance in the NFL in which he says team owners colluded to not hire him for the season. Since then, many people have thrown their support in for the now-free agent.
Cardi B says that she chose not to perform at the halftime show for this year’s Super Bowl even though it cost her money because she wanted to stand with Kaepernick.
“I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him,” she said.
Comedian Nick Cannon and actress Jodie Turner-Smith also voiced their support for the quarterback. Producer and host Jon Manuel said that he won’t support the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick.
“Haven’t watched a @NFL game all season and won’t be watching today. Can’t support an organization that tolerates all sorts of bad behavior from players, but systematically banned
@Kaepernick7 for bringing injustice to light. #ImWithKap #Superbowl #SuperBowlLIII #SuperBowlSunday,” he wrote.
Rapper and actor Common posted his support for the boycott as well.
“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I’m changing the things I cannot accept” Dr. Angela Davis.
#ImWithKap,” he wrote.
— COMMON (@common) February 3, 2019
Director, producer, and screenwriter Ava DuVernay wrote a message protesting the NFL. Kaepernick responded to DuVernay’s post, saying “Love you Sister.”
I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #SuperBowl today in protest of the @NFL’s racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players. To watch the game is to compromise my beliefs. It’s not worth it. #ImWithKap pic.twitter.com/fNEeke0crs
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 3, 2019
Online magazine the Root said that it would be boycotting the Super Bowl because of the NFL’s “racist treatment” of the player.
We will not be supporting the #SuperBowl due to the NFL's racist treatment of Colin Kaepernick.
— The Root (@TheRoot) February 3, 2019
Leading up to the Super Bowl game, LeBron James and Kevin Durant wore jerseys before their own respective games with the statement #ImWithKap written on them to lend support to Kaepernick.
Typically, the Super Bowl gets more than 100 million viewers and brings in $500 million in revenue, but viewership among those aged 18-49 have fallen in recent years. Only time will tell if the movement hurts the NFL’s bottom line or encourages the league to re-sign the former quarterback.