Tuesday, August 30, 2016
So, it's all the rage, now. 49er quarterback (and Milwaukee native) Colin Kaepernik has refused to stand for the national anthem, saying that he refuses 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 to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
To this, the social media Internet 'verse has exploded. On the one hand, there are people who react something like this:
And on the other side, there are people who react something like this:
On the political right, this quarterback is an imbecile. On the political left, this guy's a hero. There doesn't seem to be much room for anything in between.
Which naturally means I'm going to try to squeeze my ass in there.
My initial reaction is not one of either agreement or disagreement with the 'Frisco QB. But I do think that the timing of this, and the way Kaepernik has decided to go about this, are really odd. My knee-jerk reaction is to think that there must be something more to this story.
I mean, if Kaepernik wanted to protest the way black people are treated in America, there might be any number of more effective ways to go about it. He could join a protest march. He could donate some of his millions to the cause. Hell, he could organize a player sit-in so that the 49ers won't play until concerns about police violence have been met. After all, it's not like entire teams haven't spoken up about this issue before. Who can forget the "hands up, don't shoot" demonstration done by the St. Louis Rams when they took the field against the Oakland Raiders in December of 2014? But does Colin do any of these things? No. Instead, he just sits down during a patriotic moment.
It seems puzzling to me, at least at first. Was he just tired and made up some righteous excuse afterwards? I mean, if you're going to pull a stunt like that, it makes more sense to wait until the opening season game! Why do that during the preseason?
Look, I get it. the cause he is standing up - er, I mean, sitting down - for, is just. But there might be better ways, and certainly he has better means.
Speaking of which, I can't help but notice that this guy has decided to do this only after his multi-year contract is secured. I mean, it's one thing to be in your first preseason game as a rookie and make such a stand. People expect quirks from a newbie. But he's waited until now - not the first game, and not the first preseason game, but one of the final preseason games before the season premier.
"It would be selfish to look the other way," he says. Really, dude? Allow me to play devil's advocate for a moment, but didn't you look the other way the first three preseason games? Didn't you look the other way your first five seasons in the NFL? Didn't you look the other way all four seasons you played for Nevada? Why the hell should you get all bent out of shape over it now?
Or perhaps I'm being too harsh. After all, he was born in Milwaukee, and his sit-down protest comes only a couple of weeks after violence broke out in the Sherman Park neighborhood. Maybe he decided at that moment to do something.
Or maybe he's gotten wind of either being cut, or dealt to the Minnesota Vikings in the event that Terry Bridgewater is out of the season. If that were the case, perhaps he was caught in between the Milwaukee events pricking his conscience, and the realization that he might just have only one more shot to get in front of the cameras and make a stand.
I mean, a sit.
Aw, hell, sit-ins are a time-honored tradition of protest anyway.
Maybe it's smarter than I initially thought. I mean, this has everybody talking about the issue in a way nobody could have foreseen. And this right in the middle of an election season featuring Donald Trump!
I gotta say, I can't argue with the results.
When the riots broke out in Milwaukee, people sharply criticized the torching of buildings and the assault on random people, correctly saying that such behavior was counterproductive. But here is Kaepernik protesting in the most peaceful way possible, and even that is too harsh. Hell, why not just say that the only good protest is no protest at all?
Also, let's look at all the violence, the bloodshed, the outrage, and the death that's been going on on our nation's streets because of racism. One quarterback sits down for one patriotic song during a preseason game, and NOW everybody is talking about it?
What a condemnation of America and its people. Unless it happens during an NFL game, nobody fucking notices!
Well, arguing a little bit with myself in this blog post (and a little bit with my wife off of it) I'm willing to give my support. I started out only just barely on the pro-Kaepernik side, but I've been nudged over all the way, both by results and by merit. You go, Colin!
And the rest of you: fix the underlying problem! Not the quarterback!