Colin Kaepernick's silent protest against the national anthem has become one of the most interesting intersections of "sports" and "politics" in recent memory. Citing his unwillingness to "stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick showed himself willing to leverage his celebrity for social change—and to endure the inevitable wave of criticism that followed, as well.
Despite pyrotechnic efforts on the part of his angriest detractors, Kaepernick's NLF merchandise has not disappeared, en masse, in a column of patriotic fire. Quite the opposite—his jerseys have become the hottest item in the NFL's online store. And now, Kaepernick is using the surge in sales to further his protest, announcing this week that all the proceeds from his jersey sales will be donated to charity.
"I want to thank everyone who has shown me love and support, it truly means a lot!" he wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday. "I wasn't expecting my jersey sales to jump to number one because of this, but it shows the people's belief that we can achieve justice and equality for ALL!"
The move follows an earlier pledge from Kapernick to donate $1 million dollars to charity, though he's provided few details beyond that.
Nevertheless, Kaepernick seems to be demonstrating conclusively that his protest is more than an hollow gesture without any muscle (or, in this case—money) behind it. And as more and more athletes join in his silent stand against injustice, the question becomes: Who else will put their money where their mouth is?