This week a lot of non-football fans became acquainted with one Colin Kaepernick. For the last four or five days he has dominated the news cycle for his not standing for the National Anthem prior to his team’s games. Colin’s stance has to do with the killing of black people by the police as officers go unpunished despite in some cases videotaped evidence suggest that they shouldn’t.
Kaepernick took a stand and showed us what a real stand looks like. A lot of times we criticize athletes for not standing up for social issues and even give too much praise for those who make halfhearted stands. How do you know it’s was real stand, because it made people uncomfortable? A true stand is not going to make everyone all warm and fuzzy inside. It doesn’t look like he moment prior to the ESPYs where Lebron and friends tried to make even handed statements and created false parallel conversations to please all involved.
This week I learned a lot about people watching the reaction to Kaepernick’s decision. First of all, there are a lot of hypocrites out there. They use some standard of fake patriotism that comes off like racism or just plain jealousy at the least. These were the same politicians and journalist a few months ago telling how much they loved Muhammad Ali because he stood for something. Have they ever Youtubed some of Ali’s interviews from the late 1960s and early 70s? He is expressing a lot of sentiments that people feel today in the black community.
Then I found out there were a lot of white men who were comfortable calling into sports talk radio or even hosting shows that thought that they were in position to tell me how good I have it as a black man. On their watch racism ended over 40 years ago and we need to be happy to have a black president. There is this unwillingness to acknowledge that there is real pain and real danger out here in the streets for people of color. Look at a guy like Paul Finebaum who has a nationally syndicated show on ESPN that is also televised on the SEC Network who believes “This country is not oppressing black people.”
Mr. Finebaum also doubled down with the idea that Kaepernick doesn’t have a right specifically to protest stating “Usually people protest when they’ve been oppressed, when they have a legitimate stake in the action. I don’t know where Colin is coming from. What’s his beef with society, other than he’s upset about the way people, in his mind, are being oppressed in this country?”
Now of course Paul has since apologized for his thoughts because hey ESPN can’t be caught taking either side in this. I am more of the mind that he was spilling his actual feelings that he and most of his SEC fan base believes for this country.
Then there was the what about the troops people? Even though most people who actually have served in the armed forces who have publicly spoke seem to support Kaepernick’s right to protest. If you are upset for the troops here are some better causes to take up. The fact a large portion of our homeless population are veterans and 22 vets commit suicide everyday are things you could get behind. The fact that a lot of you conservatives who are so outspoken today are not vocal about the politicians you support put forth legislation that cut benefits and money to veterans.
This week I was proud of an a man who stood up for what he believed in and proved that he is more right than I thought he was in the beginning.
Keith B. Holt
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