Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is refusing to stand for the national anthem in protest of America's treatment of "black people and people of color," has drawn considerable attention for his remarks but questions remain over how the public will perceive his recent actions over time.
Jeremy Schaap -- an ESPN writer and the author of "Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics" -- and Dave Zirin -- the sports editor for The Nation and the author of "What's My Name, Fool!," a book about sports and political resistance in America -- told ABC News that several factors will determine the legacy of Kaepernick's recent actions.
Schaap noted that history has warmed to protests of athletes like Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who competed when the Civil Rights Movement was at its peak, and said that "the world has adjusted to their viewpoints."
"We've had a chance to step away with the benefit of hindsight after a cooling down period, and now people judge their actions in a completely different way," Schaap said.
Zirin, for his part, noted that Smith and Carlos, who raised their fists in a Black Power salute during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, did so in October of 1968, after a storm of highly charged political events, including the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War.
He described their actions as being "in the context of a movement," something he said was also true of Kaepernick, pointing to the recent Black Lives Matter protests that have occurred throughout the country.
"He's elevated the discussion with the actions he's taken," Zirin said. "That's why this story has been so electric. It feels very similar to 1968."
Ali, of course, drew considerable criticism at the time of his protest but was lionized as an American hero by everyone from President Obama to Donald Trump when he died this year. Smith and Carlos, who were ostracized and received death threats in 1968, later went on to win an Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2008 ESPYs. Nowadays, imagery of their protest has become ubiquitous, and has even been featured in corporate advertising.
Other protests, however, seem to have only been remembered in the context of Kaepernick's recent actions, like NBA guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf's sit-out of the national anthem in 1996 and MLB first baseman Carlos Delgado's protest of "God Bless America" in 2004.
Zirin differentiated the actions of Abdul-Rauf and Delgado from those of Ali, Smith and Carlos by describing them as "isolated" and not really part of any specific movement.
He said that the isolation of Abdul-Rauf, for example, made him more vulnerable to punishment than Kaepernick. "He was fined, and I don't think that would happen now," Zirin said.
Schaap said that Delgado's actions aren't really remembered because he never received much in the way of punishment for his protest, which was conducted in response for America's invasion of Iraq and made in solidarity with a political movement happening in his native home of Puerto Rico over U.S. weapons testing on the island of Vieques.
"He didn't lose millions of dollars and wasn't banished from his sport," Schaap said. "To create a lasting impression [like the protests of Ali, Smith and Carlos], there has to be a sense that these guys are sacrificing something."
Zirin also noted that Abdul-Rauf and Delgado conducted their protests in an age before social media and that that the public interpretations of their actions were left almost exclusively to sports writers. Nowadays, however, the public at large has a louder voice thanks to social media. He called this change a "bottom up" interpretation of events, rather than "top down," opening up a broader potential for support of Kaepernick's actions.
On Tuesday, NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar voiced support for Kaepernick's protest, driving the discussion on social media even further.
Zirin agreed with Schaap that the degree of sacrifice displayed by an athlete plays an important role in how a protest is viewed by the culture at large, suggesting that Kaepernick was indeed taking a big risk with his career.
"He's really risking something by doing this," Zirin said. "It's all the more admirable that he could be cut by the 49ers."
Kaepernick electrified fans early in his career. In his first career postseason start in 2012, he helped defeat the Green Bay Packers and set an NFL single-game record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 181.
Since that time, however, his performance on the field has been mixed. Last year, he struggled through injury and inconsistency, having the worst year of his career as a pro.
"Even the best athletes have a short time in the spotlight," Zirin said, noting the difference between Kaepernick taking a political stance versus an established movie star with longevity like George Clooney.
Kaepernick can next be seen on Thursday night, when the San Francisco 49ers play a preseason game in San Diego against the Chargers, who are set to host their “28th Annual Salute to the Military” celebration, recognizing the city’s robust military population with pregame and halftime events.
Kaepernick has said that he will not stand for the national anthem at that game.
Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighed in on the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick's decision to sit during the national anthem, in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Washington Post, portraying his protest as "highly patriotic."
"What should horrify Americans is not Kaepernick’s choice to remain seated during the national anthem, but that nearly 50 years after [Muhammad] Ali was banned from boxing for his stance and Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s raised fists caused public ostracization and numerous death threats, we still need to call attention to the same racial inequities," Abdul-Jabbar wrote, referring to prominent protests by black athletes that were once considered controversial but have since become iconic symbols of the U.S. civil rights movement.
Abdul-Jabbar's defense of Kaepernick comes amid growing backlash against the quarterback's actions.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Monday that "maybe [Kaepernick] should find a country that works better for him," and fans posted videos of themselves burning Kaepernick jerseys and other memorabilia on social media.
Abdul-Jabbar — an NBA Hall of Fame center who played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers and holds the league record for points scored, blocks and MVP awards — certainly adds prestige to those defending Kaepernick's protest.
Previously, Kaepernick's most vocal defenders were activists like Black Lives Matter advocate and New York Daily News columnist Shaun King.
The retired NBA star, 69, noted in his piece the financial risk that Kaepernick took by speaking up for his beliefs and compared him to Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Sam Kendricks, who, while competing in the Rio Olympics, stopped short while pole vaulting to honor the national anthem.
Abdul-Jabbar wrote that both athletes made a sacrifice.
"What makes an act truly patriotic and not just lip-service is when it involves personal risk or sacrifice. Both Kendricks and Kaepernick chose to express their patriotism publicly because they felt that inspiring others was more important than the personal cost," he said.
He portrayed the matter as a nonpartisan issue, suggesting that a discussion around Kaepernick comes amid "Trump and [Hillary] Clinton supporters each righteously claiming ownership of the 'most patriotic' label."
Abdul-Jabbar is no stranger to commenting on political matters and is widely regarded as liberal. He regularly contributes opinion pieces on issues of race and religion to The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.
He disappointed some progressives by endorsing Clinton before the New York primary in April in an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he praised Sanders' "dedication to the welfare of all Americans" but said he preferred Clinton, whom he called a proven warrior."
Abdul-Jabbar was born in New York City and emerged as a high school basketball star there.
In 1967, Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, participated in what is known as the Ali summit, a news conference lending support to Ali's rejection of his military induction and conscientious objection to the Vietnam War.
NBA legend Bill Russell and NFL star Jim Brown were among the news conference's other notable attendees.
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony referred to Ali in an Instagram post in July, after the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, calling for fellow athletes to "step up" and "demand change."
Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- New video of Hope Solo captures the moments after she learned that U.S. Soccer had suspended her for six months and terminated her contract.
The video, shot by Fullscreen for its series "Keeping Score," shows the goalkeeper telling her husband, "Terminated contract, not just a suspension."
"Seventeen f---ing years and it's over," an emotional Solo, 35, says in the video.
On Tuesday, the goalkeeper also announced she will not be returning to the pitch for her professional team, the Seattle Reign.
“Coming to terms with the fact I was fired from the U.S. Women’s National Team after 17 years of service has been devastating," Solo said in a statement. "After careful consideration, I have decided to end my season with the Seattle Reign, an organization I love playing for. Mentally, I am not there yet."
Solo was suspended following her comments calling the Swedish women's team "a bunch of cowards" after they beat the U.S. women's team in Rio.
“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement announcing Solo's suspension. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.
“Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action,” Gulati added.
ABC News(NEW YORK) — U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte said he made a "big mistake" when he claimed to have been held up at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics but that he thinks the reaction to the scandal that also implicated three of his U.S. Swimming teammates is "everyone blowing this way out of proportion."
"Like I said, I did lie about that one part," Lochte, 32, said Tuesday on Good Morning America, referring to his claim that a gun was held to his head. "I take full responsibility. I’m human. I made a mistake. A very big mistake."
"It’s something that I learned from and I know that will never happen again," he said.
Lochte was dropped by four sponsors in the aftermath of the scandal, including Ralph Lauren and Speedo.
Lochte is now turning his attention outside the pool, announcing Tuesday that he will be a celebrity competitor on Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars.
"I’m never one to dwell on the past. I just want to move forward," he said. "Everyone has got to be sick and tired about hearing about this. I just want to move forward."
ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- The White House called NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of “The Star-Spangled Banner” “objectionable” on Monday, but defended his constitutional right to demonstrate.
Prior to San Francisco’s Friday night preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers’ player remained seated between two Gatorade coolers while the national anthem was played through Levi’s Stadium. He later explained that he did so to protest the oppression of people of color in the United States.
Asked for President Obama's reaction to Kaepernick's actions, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest signaled his personal disagreement, but indicated he hadn’t quizzed the president on the subject.
"What I can say is that I certainly don't share the views that Mr. Kaepernick expressed after the game in explaining his reasoning for his actions," Earnest, the White House's top spokesman, said Monday.
Earnest said he's "confident" Obama, an avid sports fan, is aware of the episode, but that he hadn't spoken to the president about it.
"We surely acknowledge and even defend his right to express those views," he continued. "Even as objectionable as we find his perspective, he certainly is entitled to express them."
Despite widespread criticism, Kaepernick insists he will continue refusing to stand during the national anthem.
"I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change,” Kaepernick explained. “When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand."
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres told ESPN that he will sit during the anthem ceremony Thursday night in a preseason home game against the New York Jets.
Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of fans and supporters turned out Monday in Upstate New York to give the victorious Maine-Endwell Little League team a raucous homecoming celebration, even as the players were still wrapping their heads around the big win.
"It's shocking," shortstop-pitcher Michael Mancini, a 13-year-old rising seventh-grader, told ABC News Monday.
On Sunday, the team of eleven 12- and 13-year-olds as well as their coaches capped off a perfect 24-0 season with the biggest victory of all: They beat powerhouse East Seoul, South Korea, 2-1, to win the Little League World Series championship at Williamsport's Howard J. Lamade Stadium in Pennsylvania.
"When you actually get the chance to get your head around that, it's just amazing that we represented the entire country in an international championship game," said catcher-third baseman Conner Rush, a 13-year-old rising eighth-grader.
The team, which hails from New York's Maine and Endwell towns, also won the sportsmanship award. The teammates said they used Google Translate to communicate with the South Korean team and invited them to participate in their winning lap around the stadium.
"They were just as talented as we were and we both deserved to win," Mancini said.
"We just tried to, no matter what happens, be nice to everybody 'cause if you lost a game, you wouldn't want somebody to show you up or anything bad," Rush said.
Maine-Endwell were the first U.S. team to win in five years. They faced South Korea after beating Tennessee for the U.S. title 4-2 on Saturday. The team even received a congratulatory call from President Obama on Saturday.
"Congratulations! ... I'm proud of you, guys. ... Seeing not only how well the kids compete, but also the good sportsmanship, and seeing the parents looking all stressed -- not yelling too bad," Obama said in a call posted on the team's Twitter page. "It's just a wonderful event."
Second baseman and pitcher Jude Abbadessa, a 13-year-old rising seventh-grader, shared with ABC News the ingredients that he believed had contributed to the team's success.
"Hard work, practiced every day and just played the game as a team," he said.
At the end of the parade route, the team emptied out of their bus to chants of "USA! USA" and took to Struble Field to tip their hats to the crowds and be officially honored by community and state leaders.
"We couldn't ask for anything more from these 11 individuals," coach Scott Rush, Conner's father, said Monday. "We're happy to be home. It's been a long journey."
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Sunday no one has tried to stop him from sitting out the national anthem at NFL games or to keep him from talking about the beliefs that led him to the protest.
"No one's tried to quiet me, and you know, to be honest, it's not something I'm going to be quiet about," he said Sunday during a media availability. "I'm going to speak the truth when I'm asked about it. It's not -- this isn't for look, this isn't for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don't have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities, you know, to be successful, to provide for their families and not live in poor circumstances."
Kaepernick has drawn a mix of criticism and praise since it was noticed that the backup quarterback did not stand during the national anthem Thursday night during an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He said he had not stood for the 49ers' first preseason game, but it hadn't been noticed.
He said he made the decision to sit out the national anthem because he wanted to bring awareness to things going on in the country he feels are unjust, and because he feels the values the American flag is supposed to stand for are not being realized.
"There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust," he said. "People aren't being held accountable for. And that's something that needs to change. That's something that this country stands for -- freedom, liberty, justice for all. And it's not happening for all right now."
He said he will not stand for the national anthem until he feels those ideals are being realized.
"I'll continue to sit," he said. "I'm going to continue to stand with the people. To me this is something that has to change and when there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent in this country, as representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand."
The NFL said Saturday that while it encourages team members to stand for the national anthem, it is not a requirement.