August 26, 2016: Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers (a NFL football team), sits down in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers during the national anthem.
People begin to cry out and burn his jersey.
Why would a young athlete do such a thing?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
When he was asked why he simply replied, “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.”
I was talking to a couple of co-workers about this and was not surprised at the reactions they had. In the group of us talking, the ones of us that had some kind of black in them said, “Good.” It was about time someone who had a real platform did some real talking. The others we were not surprised at. They said he needed to leave the country or focus on playing football since his career wasn’t doing too hot right now. I was appalled. Not the least bit surprised, simply appalled.
When Americans were upset about the draft for Vietnam War did we all just leave the country? Have they forgotten that this country was founded by people who fled their own country because of religious persecution? The idea was that this was a place a person could be who they were and believe in their own beliefs. We are taught that in this country, the basis of law was that everyone was free to make their own decisions and live in relative peace. In this country, you have the right to bear a firearm to protect yourself and your family. In this country, you have a right to exercise the freedom to say whatever you want to say. In this country, the police could not harass or arrest you without probable cause . . . if you are white.
Racism is not something new. Not in this country. Slavery is not something new. Not in this country. Instead of slave quarters on the plantation, we are filling our jail cells with people who were at the wrong spot, at the wrong time. Instead of feeding these same people with tax money, it’s cheaper to put a bullet into their skulls and cover up the crime. Marginalizing people into poorer jobs and poorer areas only to kill or put them into a cell for petty crimes is the new form of slavery. Keeping the poor, poor and putting fear into the hearts of the innocents with the dark skin is the new segregation. No one wants to speak out for a real and rational fear of their lives and livelihoods.
Colin Kaepernick isn’t disrespectful. He hasn’t done anything disrespectful or out of line. He didn’t follow a boy in a neighborhood and shoot him dead for wearing a hoodie. He didn’t kill anyone for trying to sell their CDs at a gas station. He did not murder someone for changing lanes without a signal. Kaepernick is brave. He will continue to sit until there is change because it’s the right thing to do. Period.
Some people claim that he isn’t respecting those people who are fighting for our country. What they forget to mention is that a lot of “those” people are also black. A lot of “those” people don’t get the respect they deserve regardless. In reality, the government doesn’t pay them enough. Then when they are finished with their duties and trying to get their lives together while suffering from the PTSD that they have developed from fighting a war on an ideology that will probably never end . . . there’s no place in the workforce for them.
So before you go burning jerseys and sitting there thinking there isn’t such thing as white privilege, tell me the last time a little white kid got shot by the police for no reason. Tell me the last time the KKK were rounded up and hauled off to jail. TELL ME when’s the last time you got pulled over for failing to signal. Tell me when’s the last time you raped a girl, got caught with your pants down and only went to jail for a few weeks.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. Don’t be a sheep.
I not only applaud you Colin Kaepernick, I hope that others join you. I hope that you spark the change in our country. I hope there really can be peace and equality in all of our futures.