Colin Kaepernick made headlines over the weekend for spewing some controversial nonsense and instigating a bunch of racial absurdity. In case you’re unfamiliar with the name, he’s the subpar quarterback for the NFL’s San Fransisco 49ers who spends most of his time throwing the ball directly to the opposing team. But, whenever he isn’t busy losing games or advancing Blaine Gabbert’s career, he fires off ridiculous political statements on his Twitter account (mostly in the form of spineless retweets or phrases from memes) or does something really stupid just to get attention. During a preseason game against the Packers on Friday, he refused to stand during the National Anthem as a way of protesting America’s “oppression” of black people and other minorities. I initially thought that perhaps he was saving his leg strength for all the plays he would spend running away from Green Bay’s defensive backs, but apparently his intentions weren’t so practical.
From the man’s own mouth:
I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Of course, the whole thing went viral within minutes and before anyone could say, “Interception Green Bay!” the Internet was ablaze with news of Kaepernick’s so-called “protest.” Former teammates were angry with him, as well as other NFL players and personalities. On a side note: I’m not really sure how remaining seated during the National Anthem is the same as standing up for black people, but I guess a spoiled 28-year-old bi-racial kid who makes millions of dollars a year throwing a leather ball down a field (and not even doing that very well) knows better than the rest of us.
Anyway, before I address Kaepernick’s actual statement, let me say that, as a staunch proponent of the First Amendment, I support his right to remain seated during the playing of the National Anthem and to make whatever political statements he desires, no matter how uneducated, immature and purely idiotic they might be. I don’t agree with his actions morally, philosophically or ideologically, but he has every right to do it. After all, this is America, and we have that wonderful little thing called freedom of speech. Ironically, the very flag that Kaepernick refuses to respect stands as a symbol of his freedom to disrespect it. Thousands of men and women have died on battlefields throughout our history to keep that freedom safe and protected. But, what poor Kaepernick doesn’t seem to understand is that merely sitting on one’s ass does not a valid point make or a social cause advance. I don’t recall my high school history textbooks referencing any moments when Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr. “sat down” in the name of civil rights. And what exactly is this “cause” for Kaepernick? The “oppression” of black people and other minorities, right?
You know, maybe it would help Kaep’s point if he could actually offer up some proof of this so-called “oppression.” I mean, he says that “people are getting away with murder.” That’s a bold allegation. Who exactly is getting away with murder? How is America oppressing black people and other minorities? What specific things is our country — our government — doing to subject black citizens to some form of oppression? And what is that oppression? What does it look like? I’m not trying to be coy or dense here. I’m merely saying that if you’re going to make these sort of controversial and argumentative statements — and he has — then you should at least have the intelligence to include some kind of proof or provide some examples. And no, retweeting utterly incoherent articles by Shaun King and Black Lives Matter doesn’t count. In fact, it just means that your Twitter feed makes you look like a completely insane and psychologically unstable person.
Speaking of insane, let’s deal with Colin’s main point on the surface, which seems to be the same point we’ve heard a hundred other times from a hundred other liberal elite, wealthy black or biracial athletes, celebrities, pop stars, media personalities and politicians: America is a racist nation that intentionally and systematically oppresses its black population. If this is true — if our government, our society or some external phantom force really is on a mission to oppress and subvert the black race — then they’re doing an awful and terrible job. Just look around. Some of the wealthiest and most influential people in this country are black. Our president is black. Our attorney general is black. Oprah Winfrey is black. Will Smith is black. Beyonce is black. Thousands of multimillion-dollar American athletes across dozens of American sports are black. If that’s oppression, then sign me up.
Call me crazy, but I think systematic oppression looks a little more like this:
Only in America could a wealthy bi-racial athlete who had to renovate his garage to make room for his massive shoe collection complain about being racially oppressed and be called “courageous” and “brave” for it. We are literally the only country on the planet where this sort of petulant, childish, ignorant and immature behavior is actually celebrated and wildly applauded. Yes, America does have problems. Many of them, in fact. No one is denying that. But a widespread systematic oppression of black people is not one of those problems. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If anything, affirmative action was our government’s attempt to treat black citizens favorably because of their race.
Besides, if Colin Kaepernick was actually serious about protesting things that negatively affect minorities, he’d be protesting organizations like Planned Parenthood — which has successfully exterminated millions of black people over the last 40 years. Or maybe he’d be protesting a government that continues to push the welfare state narrative in effort to keep minority citizens dependent on the system. Or maybe he’d be protesting all the explicit rap music that glorifies the thug lifestyle and markets violence, sex, drugs and crime to young black kids. These are real problems, but, obviously, they’re not specific or unique to the black community or even minorities in general. These are American problems. And they’re merely symptoms of the real issue: a culture that has long since abandoned God and many of its founding principles and freedoms.
But, hey, I realize that’s not as glamorous or popular of a message as ‘black people are being oppressed’ or ‘white cops are slaughtering innocent black men.’ Those sort of messages (lies) tend to get a lot more media attention, which, I think was really Colin’s goal all along. After all, the more that the media focuses on all this victimization and drama, the less they’ll focus on his slumping career. And maybe if he plays the victim card long enough, the 49ers will feel too guilty to trade him to another team after his contract is up. Regardless, he seems to be determined to remain seated during the National Anthem indefinitely:
I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
It’s pathetic, really, because Colin Kaepernick is himself living proof that there’s no systematic oppression of racial minorities. He’s a 28-year-old bi-racial kid from an adoptive family making millions of dollars a year in an industry where he’s constantly surrounded by hundreds of black and/or minority athletes doing the same thing and making the same kind of money. He lives in a country where he can make ridiculous amounts of cash doing what he loves to do. He’s not roofing houses in 100 degree weather or riding around on a city garbage truck for 12 hours a day. He’s playing football. America has been abundantly good to him.
The truth is that if there’s anyone who should be standing for the National Anthem, it’s Colin Kaepernick.
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