Ever since Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for national anthem, it has somewhat kicked off a national discussion. I say somewhat because the detractors of Kaepernick’s stance, rather than engage in an intellectual dialogue on the issues he is raising, deflects into merely expressing their distaste for his method of protest or would use contrived “disrespect” of the troops as a shield as a tactic to attempt to silence and contaminate the protest. Almost universally, those who choose to speak out against the action,from the man on the street to Supreme Court Justices, never actually addressed the why of of those actions ( which was police brutality and systematic white supremacy) but took the opportunity to either launch ad hominem attacks at Kaepernick or attempt to direct the energy into another direction.
People have taken to burning his jersey( even using them as doormats), calling for him to be suspended and cut, even doubted the authenticity of his convictions. The most vile example have even issued death threats to the 49ers’ QB and even more disgusting, to a Texas youth football team who showed support for Kaepernick by also kneeling. Reread that last sentence and let that sink in. Adults threatened to kill a group of children for speaking out over an issue that very likely has or will effect them in the future. When he was asked if someone were to act on some of the threats made to him, he had this to say:
“it will be loud and clear for everyone why it happened, and that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now.”
What these people fail to comprehend, or perhaps they do and do not care, is that their reactions only validates the reasons for which the protest are happening. There is a segment of the population that only want their athletes to be only concerned with throwing down slam dunks, hitting home runs and scoring touchdowns. Once they have an opinion on something that is happening in the world, especially if they are black and it doesn’t run lock step with that of their league, then it upsets people. When Kaepernick said the following: “There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this country. And people don’t like to address that. And they don’t like to address what the root of this protest is,” he was spot on. It seems that people are more upset over a song and a piece of cloth than the injustices that are happening in the nation that flies that flag and holds up this ditty as it’s national anthem. Their biases, bigotry and privilege blinds them to this fact.