When 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first made the decision to sit during the Natl. Anthem, I was not happy. Part of my frustration was due to fact that my father served in Korea as a med tech & historically speaking the Korean War is viewed more as a police action then a national conflict like World War I or World War II is. It is also referred to as the 'Forgotten War' meaning that veterans who served there are not fully appreciated for the sacrifices they made serving overseas away from their family & friends. In addition, I failed to see how Colin Kaepernick took it upon himself to be the spokesman for police brutality in the 21 Century, especially now as the backup quarterback vs starting face of the franchise quarterback in San Francisco. Third, Colin Kaepernick was making this display of peaceful, civil defiance not in civilian street clothes, but in his NFL uniform. A huge no no in my book.
Do you remember when HOF pass rusher Reggie White who was also a minister spoke against the same sex lifestyle as a retired player wearing his #92 Green Bay jersey? Aside from a person's religious, spiritual, or even agnostic beliefs in general, it is not my place to tell anyone how to lead their private lives. My biggest pet peeve with what Mr. White did is this: By wearing a Packers jersey from the NFL team that he won a SB ring with, Reggie blurred the line between religion in his pulpit capacity with indirectly associating the Green Bay franchise with the notion that this organization endorsed or condoned discriminating against people who just happened to be gay or lesbian themselves. So, when Colin Kaepernick decided either to not stand or kneel during the signing of the National Anthem in his NFL uniform, he was disrespecting John York, the owner of the 49ers who cuts his check, pays his salary, & provides Colin a darn good standard of living. He is creating the false impression that Mr. York on company time approves of this continued act of defiance on a repeated basis. When an employer provides their employee an income to purchase a home, a car, food, & a disposable income to travel, buy nice things, help family members out financially, & have a girlfriend & a social life away from football; Colin Kaepernick should know that there is a difference between company expectations & doing whatever you want on your own time when the regular season isn't taking place. Colin's boss may not cosign everything Kaep does while wearing the burgundy & gold uniform right before a game is about to start, which is why he is actually being paid.
There is nothing wrong with bringing a heightened sense of awareness against police brutality across America just don't use your employers uniform in order to spread possible solutions to ending unnecessary violence, fostering more community policing vs racial profiling & stop & frisk practices, & holding dirty & racist police officers accountable when they cross that line & murder a black man or woman in cold blood.
There is definitely a double standard when it comes to pulling over a black driver vs a caucasian driver in this country. Now, I am not saying that all police officers are up to no good or use excessive force on purpose getting intoxicated with the power & the authority that a badge & firearm may give them. There are a number of fine upstanding cops out there. All I'm saying is this: Most parents of white children with drivers licenses don't have to tell their offspring to lower all their windows, place their hands visibly on the steering wheel making no sudden or abrupt movements, speak in short, respectful sentences to the police showing no rebellious tone in your voice; & concluding their interaction in one peace meaning not secretly fearing that they are about to be unlawfully incarcerated, beaten, or shot. White children 16-18 don't usually worry about their world being flipped upside down if they mouth off to a cop or decide to argue over how fast they were going when they were pulled over & the red sirens got turned on. They just don't. My oldest nephew got pulled over for transporting illegal narcotics across state lines & I wonder to myself if the driver had been my black cousin instead of my white nephew would he be dead right now? I already know the answer to this question & it infuriates me because skin color shouldn't matter one darn bit but I know how the real world works sadly.
Getting back to Colin Kaepernick, is there credence to the fact that Colin started this whole red, white, & blue movement against police brutality as the 2nd string QB as opposed to the starter right now? Well, the NFL is consumed with production on the field week in week out & the league runs away from anyone or anything controversial because it doesn't wanna lose millions from sponsors as a wholesome, family friendly entertainment. Or is this just a publicity stunt by a man who isn't what he once was on a football field anymore & Colin just did this to make himself a household name off the field & become a celebrity that way? I think Colin Kaepernick genuinely believes in what he is doing & he is sincere promising to give $1,000,000 of his salary to charity designed to curb police violence. However, the reason we even know who Colin is is due to his SB appearance vs the Ravens in New Orleans during the 2012 season. So, if Kaep is no longer affiliated with the Niners anymore or any other team after this year; will we even care anymore? Probably not.
My primary thesis here is this: When you are in company clothes on company time as a 49er QB, you don't have a right to use your uniform as a tool or mechanism to propel a personal issue forward. In blue jeans & a t-shirt or tie away from the football facility, Colin can endorse whatever cause or movement he wants. The difference here is that your boss may not want his logo & brand name attached to everything their field general says off the field. Now, I know what you're thinking. The NFL endorses play 60. Is it the league's business to start a campaign on TV inferring that my teenage kid is fat, lethargic, eats to many candy bars & needs to exercise more? Not really. Or what about Habitat For Humanities building homes for low income people or making homes handicap accessible for Disabled Veterans returning home from War? Isn't this an example of participating in activities that transcend football as a game & improve a community for the better? Okay sure, when you put it like that, it's easy to make the case that this act of Natl. Anthem defiance is just a way to keep black men & women alive by keeping families intact & alive. Therefore, promoting protection & self worth in local communities across America. However, can't the same platform be propelled forward by Colin Kaepernick in street clothes outside his 49ers uniform? It's not people won't know who Kaep is without his uniform & pads on man. Just like everybody who knew who Reggie White without his Packers uniform on.
Thanks for listening. I appreciate it. It's cathartic just to write about provocative current events like this for me.