Guest essay: The pros of peaceful protest

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Guest essay: The pros of peaceful protest

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A letter concerning peaceful protest during the national anthem.


Although I have not followed sports closely for some time, I was deeply moved in 2016 when I

learned of the courageous decision by Colin Kaepernick (and others) to kneel during the

national anthem in peaceful protest against police brutality and the terrible racism that still

pervades much of our society. Michael Brown’s tragic shooting death in 2014 in Ferguson,

Missouri made Kaepernick’s heroic act resonate even more strongly with me.


Over the last few years, I have felt a growing obligation to publicly support Kaepernick’s cause.

I was deeply disturbed by President Trump’s disparaging remarks about players who engaged in

peaceful protests. I was also dismayed to learn that NFL team owners effectively colluded to

keep Kaepernick out of the league in retaliation for his peaceful protest. Given such appalling

actions by those wielding political and financial power in our society, I feel an even greater sense of urgency to support Kaepernick.


My conscience now demands that I publicly support Kaepernick’s cause by kneeling during the national anthem at this year’s graduation ceremonies.


Graduation is a time of celebration, as we recognize the achievements of new graduates and all the good that is accomplished at SLU. At the same time, given our university’s mission, I

believe that it is appropriate to temper our celebration by recognizing—indeed, peacefully

protesting—the racial injustices that continue to mar our region and country.


I thank those who have generously shared their thoughts with me as I contemplated kneeling

during the anthem. Of course, I remain solely responsible for my actions. I welcome hearing

from anyone concerning my peaceful protest, so please feel free to contact me.


David Rapach

Professor of Economics

John Simon Endowed Chair in Economics

Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

Saint Louis University

Email: [email protected]