Colin Kaepernick Connects to Long History of Time Magazine Protest-Themed Covers

On North American newsstands today.

TimeMach311930CoverThe March 31, 1930 Time cover story “Pinch of Salt” was all about Mohandas Gandhi’s Salt March, a two-month act of peaceful protest being carried out at that time against British India rule. That’s the cover, on the right; Gandhi would go on to be voted Time’s 1930 Man of the Year.

Being on the cover of Time today doesn’t quite resonate the way it did in 1930, or at most other times when the magazine has featured political protests on the cover. One of the last such instances, arguably, was when for the year 2011, Time famously chose “The Protester” as its Person of the Year, with Shephard Fairey providing the cover. The nomenclature for the annual honor was changed from Man to Person in 1999.

In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, sportswriter Ann Killion frames Colin Kaepernick’s Time U.S. edition cover, on newsstands today, this way:

There were many who expected Kaepernick’s story to make it through one or two news cycles and then be over. I understand. That’s how most things work in our world. We don’t seem to have the patience to sustain interest in a topic for more than a few days, or hours.

But Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has created unexpected impact. One man’s action, which wasn’t even noticed at first, has been like a boulder dropped into a pond. The ripples continue to be felt throughout society.

Time2011PersonYearWhen Time first reported about Kaepernick’s actions in late August, no doubt the editors at the magazine would have never guessed he would be on their cover just four weeks later. The shot of Kaepernick was not posed for Time; it’s taken from one of the athlete’s on-field protests.

At a Thursday press conference, San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly had a lively exchange with Santa Rosa Press Democrat columnist Lowell Cohn about the effect of the back-up quarterback’s actions on teammates. At one point, Cohn told the coach he thought Kaepernick should not talk to journalists post-game in the locker room about this whole thing, but rather, tell them he will do so at another time.

Everyone is still writing and talking about this. Even a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, John McWhorter, who has a sidebar in the Time Kaepernick issue.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Daily News Columnist Sides With Colin Kaepernick