Staten Island, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/22/2017 --NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, unleashed a storm of controversy when he failed to stand for the national anthem to protest what he views as U.S. crimes against African Americans and minorities in general. Daniel Kane, adjunct lecturer at CUNY Kingsborough Community College and CUNY School of Professional Studies, noted that a subset of normative ethics can be used to explain Kaepernick's actions.
"Kaepernick's decision to refuse to stand during the national anthem correlates to an analysis of a series of events that may explain the ethical dilemmas that resulted," said Kane. "The action of sitting or kneeling is only one part of the scenario; the time and the rationale also need to be considered to explain the full implications of Kaepernick's decision as it relates to normative ethics."
Kane is the co-author of "Application of Normative Ethics to Explain Colin Kaepernick's Silent Protest in the NFL" that was recently published in The Sports Journal. Normative ethics is used to help individuals discern what actions, ethics, virtues and moral values are deemed right, wrong, acceptable and virtuous according to the norms and mores of society.
By refusing to stand for the national anthem, it was Kaepernick's way of making a statement about Civil Rights, but it wasn't perceived that way by the general public, in part due to the venue and setting. The ire that Kaepernick generated wasn't in response to the reason for his protest, but the form it took.
People applauded his moral character and willingness to support what he believes in. At the same time, football is associated with values that include sportsmanship, love of country, and expectations of neutrality when on the field. Kaepernick's actions and the public outrage in response is an example of the application of normative ethics, as is the ongoing evolution and support of that behavior.
Normative ethics can provide the framework by which individuals can validate their personal beliefs, but it happens rarely in professional sports. The study of normative ethics also provides the means to understand and explain the support Kaepernick has since garnered from other NFL players and why the Kaepernick Effect is becoming a movement.
About Daniel Kane
Daniel Kane is an adjunct lecturer at CUNY Kingsborough Community College and CUNY School of Professional Studies. A doctoral student at the United States Sports Academy, he's pursuing a degree in sports management. Scholarly articles include "Recognizing ESports as a Sport" that was published in the May 2017 edition of The Sport Journal.