There is One Effective Way to Support Colin Kaepernick

There is usually nothing that will cause an uptick in the public discourse than an athlete taking a political or moral stance. The latest controversy concerns NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand for the national anthem. He has either sat or took a knee, beginning in the 2016 preseason, in protest for the continued oppression of Blacks in America, police shootings, and the lack of police accountability. Kaepernick’s message is not the controversy in and of itself, but how uncomfortable it makes people feel.

Lining up to make a case against Kaepernick’s ability to play in the  NFL included analysts like Albert Breer,, and, more importantly, the owners themselves who are hiding behind the premise that he’s just not good enough. Richard Sherman of the Seahawks correctly states “For you to say you have to check with sponsors and fans because this guy took a knee and made a statement? Now if you told me this guy… played like a bum… that’s one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, or whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible — have jobs…fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.” You can also add Jared Goff, Scott Tolzien, Josh McGowan, Christian Hackenberg, and Jay Cutler to the list of quarterbacks that are not as good as Kaepernick.

The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass had this fantastic thought on Kaepernick “But I would like to send him on vacation to Mogadishu, Libya, Sudan or the Valley of the Christians in Syria — where people are crucified for their beliefs — just to hear him whimpering about how much he misses the United States.”

Aside from his like it or leave it tough-guy talk, Kass, without irony, overlooks the fact that his beloved America is bombing and murdering in the countries he mentions sending Kaepernick to. Neither does Kass recognize the linkage between race, militarism, and economic injustice in criticizing Kaepernick. Richard Sherman correctly said a core message directed at Kaepernick is, and it applies here with Kass too, “It’s not about football or color. It’s about, ‘Boy, stay in your place’.

Criticism has come from black players and NFL analysts as well. Some of the statements are quite stunning.

On Fox Sports 1 Speak for Yourself ex- NFL quarterback Michael Vick piece of advice for Kaepernick, “First thing we’ve got to get Colin to do is cut his hair”. Vick went on by saying even if he had cornrows, it was also a wrong way to represent himself. Vick was not providing satire, his “advice”was sincere.

There’s an implication in Vick’s statements that Kaepernick’s afro is too black and would harm his chances of getting hired. It’s not far-reaching to suggest that along with that haircut, Vick is also saying to Colin, just sell out to get your job back.

On August 29th, 2016, former NFL star and current NBC football commentator Rodney Harrison went on a rant concerning the Kaepernick issue. Speaking on Sports 790, Harrison http://ftw.usatoday was quite adamant about his blackness and dismissive of Kaepernick’s blackness “I’m a black man. And Colin Kaepernick — he’s not black. He can not understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face” What prompted Harrison to make such a miseducated statement is anyone’s guess. A desire to add something intelligent to the Kaepernick debate was not one of them.

Is Kaepernick’s method of protest wrong? Is he being blackballed by the NFL? Not necessarily, and yes.

Kaepernick taking a knee or sitting during the anthem, is seen by some, including Veterans, those enlisted, and their families as disrespectful. There are Veterans and Veteran’s groups that support Kaepernick. Veterans For Peace issued a statement supporting Colin Kaepernick. I am a Marine Veteran who never felt offended by his protest. I  support not only his right to express his message but, more importantly, the awarenes, and conversation itself he is trying to generate. The idea of wrapping this protest in patriotism and nationalism is not only fundamentally flawed; it is a hijacking of his message.

Patriotic fervor and nationalism ignore the trillions of dollars funneled into endless unwinnable wars. Former Marine and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy Matthew Hoh gives a numbing example of the tremendous waste of dollars alone (it is at 12:00-minute mark in the video). Just on the interest of the debt alone through this year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wars will total 450 billion dollars

This colossal waste of taxpayer dollars can be re-allocated to core issues addressing the black community. Black leaders,  representatives, and more importantly, the black community itself can make these decisions on the specific areas to prioritize in helping their community. The anthem, patriotism and talk of the flag are nothing but deflection.

Yes, Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL; the evidence is everywhere. Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton both concur Kaepernick belongs in the NFL.His 16/4 TD pick ratio on a crappy 49er team is one of many examples. The arguments that he’s not talented enough are laughable when looking at some of the quarterbacks on NFL rosters right now.

The one effective way to support Colin Kaepernick is to boycott NFL games by not attending or watching televised football games. And refrain from purchasing NFL merchandise entirely. I enjoy football and was looking forward to the upcoming season. I cannot, on the one hand, say I support Colin (and most importantly, his message) but, on the other, financially support those who are oppressing him.

It is also crucial that whites play a part in this. Our Black co-citizens are more than just entertainment figures for the nation. They deserve more than mealy-mouth statements of how slavery was wrong, racism is bad, etc.. I urge those that support Colin, and his message to boycott the NFL as well.

Note: Two bars near Soldiers Field are boycotting  NFL games in support of Colin Kaepernick. The Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak Road, and Bureau Bar, 75 E. 16th St I applaud them.

Filed under: Social Issues


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  • I fail to understand all the anger, he's not hurting anyone. I went to a very liberal high school in the late 60's, half the student body didn't rise for the pledge or national anthem.
    Peaceful protest has always been the American Way.
    Surely we have more important things to fret about.
    I can and will boycott the NFL but truth be known I was never a huge supporter.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Thanks for reading and commenting Kathy. Definitely similarities of the 60's protests. The anger comes from the reason he is protesting. Does anyone think if Kaepernick were protesting the defunding of cancer research in America there'd be an uproar?

  • Aside from whether he is being blackballed (in which case, if there is collusion he can afford a lawyer and either file a grievance or a lawsuit), maybe you can tell me if I am wrong about this: he has an agent and he opted out of his contract.

    ESPN said in 2016.

    The San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick have signed a restructuring of the quarterback's contract, wiping out the final four years and turning it into a two-year deal with a player option for the second year, sources told ESPN.

    The monetary value of the deal for this year remains the same, with the second year, should Kaepernick choose to stay, carrying a $16.5 million salary but no money guaranteed.

    Now, if he had not renegotiated his contract, nor exercised the option and miscalculated the market, would we be talking about this here? Or might he have just ended up being an Aug. 31, 2017 cut?

  • In reply to jack:

    Hey Jack, thanks for reading and commenting. 49ers GM John Lynch said he was going to cut Kaepernick and that's why Kaepernick opted out. Lynch was vocal that he wanted Brian Hoyer over Kaepernick at QB: this is preposterous on every level. Hoyer is inferior in comparison.
    Also, way too much smoke blown that Kaepernick is not talented enough. These owners want him to shut up and fall in line like he did something wrong. The NFL is not the plantation. Perhaps an owner will be shamed into doing the right thing.

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    Your trying to justify this mans actions when there is no justifing. First off, when on the field he is on the job for his team, and he should do what ever the coach calls or the owner calls for, but not his own individual attitude and pet pevvs. Then secondly, this guy should of made sure he could play football, to date he still has yet to be a stand out that is worth listening too. He has not proved himself to be anything but a head runner, an he dosnt talk all that well. We have enough of those kind of people, dont need more. So you can just crawl back in the hole you came out of, you had your chance and i do not hope you get anymore.

  • In reply to Andrew Jackson:

    Thanks for replying Andrew. I'm not trying to justify Kaepernick's actions; he's doing a great job all by himself. As far as the coaches and owners they are saying he has the right to express himself. Again, he is a better quarterback than a lot those currently holding jobs at that position. His performance and stats prove that.

  • Matthew, I agree with your assessment of the Kaepernick situation and further question why the national anthem is played at sports games in the first place. I understand that this tradition started to promote military enrollment.

  • In reply to CherylJ:

    Emma Niles at truthdig wrote a great piece which referenced Stephen A. Smith at ESPN. He revealed that players did not have to be on the field for the anthem until 2009. The link is below.
    Wage peace.

  • Colin Kaepernick chose to stand for the part of him that needs essay writing service to make a point. His white inheritance is not in the same situation that his black inheritance is. So, he stands for what he sees is a true issue.

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