Traditional Rhetorical Analysis

A recent issue that I have been encountering on almost a daily basis is the popular topic with Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback in the National Football League. I am always scrolling through heated debates on various social media networks of Colin purposefully protesting against the national anthem during one of the openings of an NFL game (shown above).  Colin has been open about this issue and admitted as to why he refused to acknowledge the national anthem.

In response to an interview question Colin shared his following opinion, “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 NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “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 (NFL).”

A reason I believe this issue is so “hot” is because of the related and mentioned matter of “Black Lives Matter.” There has been a lot of focus on this particular protest due to viral videos of Caucasian police officers shooting and killing African Americans in legal confrontations. Many of those videos were viewed in very different ways and a vast amount of opinions were shared. As stated in a reading of Ancient Rhetorics, “…A person’s character (and hence her opinions) were constructions made by the community in which she lived (Ancient Rhetorics 1).” The folks within the same community that the shootings took place were very outspoken and driven to protest these situations. Their opinions were extremely persuasive in the fact that groups of protesters gathered to show how they felt on the matter. A large majority were against police officers and viewed them as enemies because of the many opinions being shared. Another related portion in a reading on Ancient Rhetorics,”…To return to our more general argument about the nature of opinions. If we locate opinions outside individuals and within communities, they assume more importance. If a significant number of individuals within a community share an opinion, it becomes difficult to dismiss that opinion as unimportant, no matter how much we like or detest it (Ancient Rhetorics 2&3).” Those outside the community viewed the situations as tragic but weren’t motivated to be as outspoken as those within the community, and others stated officers weren’t at fault and that those individuals in the community were acting irrational.

The  reason Colin got so much attention was because of the time and reason in which he chose to make his act. Kairos is defined  as “a ‘window’ of time during which action is most advantageous.” Specifically focusing on Colin refusing to recognize the anthem (ignoring the “Black Lives Matter” movement), he may not have received as much attention as he has been. The time in which he chose to do that helped fuel the attention he has been receiving. 


For related topics concerning rhetoric, view the following blogs:


Ancient Rhetorics (1)

Ancient Rhetorics (2&3)




2 thoughts on “Traditional Rhetorical Analysis

  1. This has been a really hot topic lately and the cop stuff has been going on for a while too. My uncle and dad are both cops and I have a strong opinion concerning these issues. It’s amazing how different people view these issues and how they can be connected. It’s also amazing how seemingly small issues can become huge. Thanks for your insight.


  2. This has been a big topic lately and the cop issue hits close to home for me. My dad and uncle are both cops. It amazes me how these issues show up and it really amazes me what topics the public focuses on. Little issues can become huge. Thanks for your insight.


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