On Sports: How Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Is Connecting Playing Fields to the Streets

In the nearly two months that have passed since Colin Kaepernick started kneeling for the national anthem, the method and impact of athletes’ protests have evolved. Gestures, however solemn and sincere, now require an antagonistic directness that translates easily to television or social media. To hold the public’s attention, it’s no longer enough for the Seattle Seahawks to link arms and make a video about “unity” or for Cam Newton to wear a T-shirt printed with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. (“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”) and mutter his way through a speech about the need for everyone to be accountable for themselves, regardless of race, gender or age. (Newton, who in the past rarely acknowledged the antipathy his touchdown celebrations provoked among many stodgy fans, might have finally accepted the counsel of Frank Luntz, the right-wing consultant reportedly hired by the Panthers to work with him.)

The sorts of statements that capture the popular imagination now aren’t echoes from the past but images that show defiance or expressions rooted in the personal — as in Serena…

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