Sadly, Colin Kaepernick will likely never play in the National Football League again.
Where his football life ended; his public life as a motivator and an inspiration to the black community is just getting started. He’s already donated close to a million dollars in charity, accounting for every penny spent on his website. Decades from now history will look at Colin Kaepernick as a hero.
It is glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention that Colin Kaepernick has been black-balled by NFL owners for kneeling during the national anthem last year. Although Kaepernick and the NFL players that have continued to kneel, have succinctly explained their reasons, here it is again; Kaepernick took a knee to shine a desperately needed light on police brutality spiraling out of control and a justice system that refused to punish these officers for the innocent lives they took. Yet, people wonder why Black Lives Matter is necessary.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.” – Colin Kaepernick
During the off season we witnessed NFL teams sign mediocre quarterback after mediocre quarterback, teams have lost their starting quarterback to injury (Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson), yet still, Kaepernick has not even been invited to a workout with a team. Why? He knelt. That’s his crime. He stood up for people. For that, he gets called a “son of bitch” by the President of the United States.
I believe any person of colour that has some knowledge of black history understood the sacrifice Kaepernick was making on their behalf. That is why he’s held up in such high regard in the black community. We all knew there would be a blowback for his stance, that he’d pay a price but I doubt anyone thought it would have come to this.
What I found incredibly vexing about his critics, was their disingenuous reasons for having a problem with Kaepernick and what he was doing. It’s disrespectful to the flag. It’s disrespectful to the military. There’s a better way to protest. Most of these people have likely never been angered by seeing a U-S flag bikini, overalls, or USA paper plates. Seriously, there are actually USA flag paper plates! What could be more disrespectful to the flag than eating food off it? I’d be furious to see Canadian flag paper plates. But if an Indigenous athlete were to kneel during the Canadian anthem (for any number of reasons, our history’s not as nice as you may think) I certainly would not throw vitriol at him/her, hiding behind some sacred notion of the flag.
Sarcastically speaking, the “there’s a better way to protest” argument has got to be my favourite. I have yet to hear anyone put forth a better, more acceptable way. As much as Martin Luther King Jr. is revered and respected today, he was one of the most hated men in America at the time of his death. White people in particular, during civil rights movement, echoed the same sentiments back then as they do today. He’s hurting black people’s cause. He needs to find a better way to protest. That’s what they said with Jim Crow laws still in effect! It’s truly disheartening to realize that very little has changed.
Baring that in mind, in the future, history will look extremely favourably on Colin Kaepernick. History will look at Kaepernick with a similar reverence that it does for King Jr., Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and John Carlos to name a few. I respectfully salute and admire GQ Magazine for making Colin Kaepernick it’s Citizen Of The Year. 30 – 40 years, looking back at these times, will you rest easy with the side of history you chose to stand on?
(BTW, if a player kneeling during the national anthem bothers you more than innocent people killed in the streets, you should just STFUforever. Why are you even reading my blog?)