When Colin Kaepernick got down on one knee alongside teammate Eric Reid during the National Anthem at an NFL game in protest of racial discrimination in the country, it led to serious backlash from Americans who saw his protest as disrespectful, and ultimately, cost him his professional football career. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told media outlets at the time. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
A year later, the peaceful campaign regained traction after President Donald Trump saw a player kneel on the field and said, “Get that son of a b— off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired! That’s a total disrespect of our heritage,” he fumed, “That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.” In response, outraged NFL players began kneeling arm in arm during the national anthem, which lead to the #TakeAKnee movement.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City is now hanging Kaepernick’s jersey, which became a symbol of social justice activism and was the best-selling jersey in the NFL in 2016, in an exhibition titled, “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” The exhibit, which is open until January 2018, displays 111 items of clothing and accessories that “have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.”
“Children around the world look up to sports heroes as role models; for them, the jersey embodies a dream or aspiration,” MoMA curator Paola Antonelli told the HuffPost in an email.
“We hope that visitors to ’Items′ will see in these sports jerseys not only the blood, sweat, and tears of their original wearers,” she added, “but also the complex synthesis of aesthetics, personal choice, collective style, politics, business, race, gender, marketing, labor and technology that are embodied by their reproductions.”