Colin Kaepernick took a knee during a few preseason games last year, maybe you’ve heard. Since then the backlash has spun into political debate, arguments, and banter from sports and political pundits that have white washed the situation.
The event was a sports player took a knee during the national anthem at a game. Most people don’t know why we even have the National Anthem at games. I am not your encyclopedia and I am not Google but I’ll give you a hint: Red Sox First Baseman Fred Thomas.
Since Colin took that knee, it’s been nothing but reaction to the reactions. We neatly piled up our two sides; for and against, like we do with everything else and people lined up behind each other and shouted. Nothing solved, nothing completed, and nothing really happened.
It’s just a hot topic that comes oozing out on slow sports days. But I learned something throughout this whole thing and it’s not what you think.
Race Relations in America
You probably clicked on this headline thinking that’s what this is about. And to a certain extent it is. But if you didn’t know that race relations in America were messed up before Kaepernick than you live in outer space.
When you wanna root for Colin Kaepernick but he might be on the Ravens pic.twitter.com/ZxkmCO6vCb
— Fly Mob Kof (@KofieYeboah) July 28, 2017
Discrimination is still prevalent in everyday life; from the corner store to Hollywood. It has never went away and without folks fighting that fight everyday it will never go away. Football fans just didn’t like to be reminded of it on their day of football. I’ve heard every excuse; from it’s not his place, to he doesn’t get paid for that, to you’re a football player play football. Muhammad Ali thought differently. Activism isn’t new to sports, if you didn’t realize that, you live in outer space.
Last time: Kaepernick’s protest wasn’t anti-military or police or USA. He was protesting police brutality. I’m ex-Army. Loved what he did.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) July 27, 2017
Colin’s knee turned into a memorandum on how to respect the military. Kaepernick himself said that he meant no disrespect to the military. The flag is not just a military symbol, neither is the national anthem. It’s for all of us. If you didn’t realize that you probably live in outer space.
What I Learned
We’re sheep. We follow the status quo and don’t ask questions nearly enough. We side with who we think is supposed to be right instead of who might actually be right. It’s not that simple.
Here’s what I mean.
Some believe that Kaepernick has not gotten a job because he has not made it implicitly clear whether or not he wants to be a football player or an activist. Michael Vick suggested that he cut his hair and change his image. The New York Giants have stated that they can’t hire him because of the backlash it would create with their fans, who have stated they don’t want him playing. Others believe his stats just aren’t good enough.
These are all examples of excusing ourselves from the truth and placing the blame off our own shoulders.
— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) July 27, 2017
Truth is we should be collectively saying the opposite of each excuse. The owners should be the ones explaining themselves, not Kap. If there is no team policy on hair and image then Kap doesn’t have to follow it. The Giants biggest fan base is New York City, one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world. Where are these fans coming from that they’re talking about? And as for stats? Dan Orlovsky got signed recently. As did David Fales. Who? Exactly.
Here is an updated list of every FA QB that has been signed this offseason not named Colin Kaepernick pic.twitter.com/KAgH51w3sy
— BlackSportsOnline (@BSO) July 27, 2017
The reason Kap isn’t getting signed is because we have sided with what we think is the right thing to do. We’re following management. In this case it’s ownership and General Management, citing our patriotism as our reasons, citing the good of football as its underlying current while we are being held down by the upper hand.
Colin stood up for something he believed in and became victim to the status quo. Side with management so you don’t get in trouble. Side with whatever might be the popular side so nothing changes, petrified that football might be different, scared to death Sundays will be empty of binge watching games and ignoring the outside world.
This used to be a nation of rebels. Now it’s a nation of sheep.
Anthony Norman White is a writer from New York, John Candy Enthusiast, Pi's Dad, Musician, Author of Literary Fiction and Poetry, Hip Hop Fanatic.