DISCLAIMER: I’m a HUGE Niners fan. But this is bigger than football.
Does Colin Kaepernick THINK he’s standing for a noble cause by refusing to honor the nation and flag through the national anthem?
Because reality is, looking through a woefully narrow tunnel at what this nation represents is painfully short-sighted, terribly ignorant and simply stupid.
I get the fact that bad things are happening. And change needs to be made.
And as Kaepernick pointed out, this isn’t new (although this is the first year he’s taking this stance, the timing of which is interesting, but more on that later.)
But allowing recent, terribly tragic, terrible-in-general incidents to erase more than 200 years of a nation’s history is asinine.
By refusing to stand for the national anthem he’s ignoring the thousands who died fighting English oppression and thousands more who had the fortitude to fight for freedom and raise THAT flag in the midst of the “rocket’s red glare” and the “bombs bursting in air.”
His explanation: "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 Friday’s game against the Packers. "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."
There were more bodies in the street willingly dying to forge a revolutionary concept of freedom. It’d be wise to remember that. Always.
In his attempt to “stand with those oppressed” he forgets, or worse yet, maybe never learned, the tyrannical oppression our forefathers fought and the tyrannical oppression our troops continue to fight to this day.
Kaepernick has never lived in a nation that rockets or bombs were a regular part of the night’s sky. He’s never seen a time that the perils of war were on his doorstep. All thanks to the people who inspired that flag and that national anthem.
In a Sunday media session, he spent 18 minutes further explaining his position. Saying he’ll continue to sit until this nation represents its ideals in his opinion. He outlined the injustice he believes exists and questioned the two presidential candidates, citing one that “has deleted emails and done illegal things and is a presidential candidate.” The microphones were there as long as he was exercising his freedom of speech.
"More specifically, if he can’t understand the lyrics and symbols of those who fought with their lives and loved ones against oppression, how can he possibly ‘stand with the oppressed’?"
But what do those words accomplish? How do they bridge racial divides? If he can’t even understand what our flag actually stands for, what the words in the national anthem actually mean, how can he possibly understand the path to healing? More specifically, if he can’t understand the lyrics and symbols of those who fought with their lives and loved ones against oppression, how can he possibly “stand with the oppressed"?
But he tries to convince himself he does. Furthermore, he’s trying to convince others that his “stance” is a noble one and that he’s bringing awareness to a cause, bravely putting a target on his chest for all those who “don’t have a voice.”
Yet he disrespected and failed to honor those who did so WITH THEIR LIVES through the centuries.
It’s frightfully sad that he thinks his protest is good enough.
Kaepernick has the influence, affluence and access to create programs in communities devastated by racial divides and help unite people. Only problem: he’s chosen to disregard the lyrics and symbols designed to remind us ALL that we are the UNITED States of America.
So while he’s ignoring centuries of men and women who’ve fought oppression to “stand with those who are oppressed” he’s also disregarding the single most symbolic element of the UNITED States of America.
I sincerely hope you see the pure hypocrisy in that.
Is This A Religious Thing?
Kaepernick says this was the first year he’s decided to do this, saying he’s been educating himself on the matters and wanting to know more. (Because apparently understanding whether racism exists requires research.)
Anyway, according to his Instagram account and multiple reports, Kaepernick has been actively celebrating Islamic holidays.
While I’m certainly not suggesting all Muslims carry anti-American sentiments, could Kaepernick’s recent repudiations of our nation be religiously motivated? Perhaps adopting a new set of moral standards has offered him a new kind of conscience and has altered his previous perspective.
The other two most notable athletes that were actively critical of our nation’s traditions: boxing legend, Cassius Clay and former Denver Nugget, Chris Jackson. Or, after converting to Islam, Muhammed Ali and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
After both men converted, Ali lost 3 years of his prime to dodge the draft and Abdul-Rauf was suspended by the NBA for failing to stand through the national anthem, he cited similar reasons as Kaepernick for his “protest.”
In the 49ers statement, they allow for “Freedom of Religion” which is odd since Kaepernick does not state any religious stance.
49er statement regarding Colin Kaepernick: "The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."
And the 49ers statement summed it up perfectly. He does have the right to express himself. It’s just so sad he chooses to flex that right by disrespecting those who died to ensure it.
I hope Kaepernick learns more about history, learns more about who’s sacrificed what over the years and takes a proactive approach to create positive change rather than taking a seat when a celebration of freedom is taking place.