Dr. Dre posted a photo of himself and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling together with the simple caption, “Defiant,” on Sunday evening. While the inspiration and location of the photo — somewhere in the great outdoors — were unclear, it is obvious that Dre is reaffirming solidarity with Kaepernick, who was essentially banished from the National Football League three years ago for taking a knee while the National Anthem played to protest racial inequality and police brutality toward minorities.
Dre and Kaepernick have a long history, going back at least to 2013, when the athlete signed a deal with Beats by Dre before it was purchased by Apple. And obviously the word “Defiant” is a strong one for Dre, as the 2017 HBO documentary about his and Beats cofounder Jimmy Iovine’s lives and careers is titled “The Defiant Ones.”
Public sentiment toward Kaepernick’s statement seems to be shifting, at least in professional sports: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has worked to reposition the league in light of the negative publicity it has received for blackballing Kaepernick, pacted with Jay-Z and Roc Nation last summer for an entertainment and social justice deal, and he recently apologized for the league’s treatment of players who protested. And during Major League Baseball’s opening day last week, players from several teams, including the New York Yankees, took a knee during the anthem — prompting predictable angry social media comments from President Trump and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Similarly, the comments on Dre’s Instagram post range from solidarity and approval to complaints about the two making such a statement in light of their wealth, although at a glance those outnumber any opinions about Kaepernick’s patriotism, which is the tack politicians usually take.