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Kaepernick’s Silent Protest

I wrote Kaepernick’s Silent Protest on 23 September 2017. I had not watched NFL football the season before at all and the 2015 season I watched sparingly for no other reason than it had become less interesting and I had better things to do with my time. However, now that Colin Kaepernick has been announced as the face of Nike for their “Just Do It” anniversary campaign, I felt it was as good of time to dust this off and post it since no one has ever had the pleasure to read this masterpiece.

My desire to watch NFL football has decreased significantly as years passed and now I don't even care to watch. It was never in my top three sports to watch anyway, basketball has always been number one, then track & field, then X-Games (don't judge me). American football falls somewhere around 10th behind Pop Warner football and before Curling.

In any case watching the whole Colin Kaepernick fiasco unfold, I see people upset on both sides of the argument. There are those upset because he's not standing for the National Anthem and feel he's dishonoring active military members and veterans that are and have fought for his rights. Then you have those that agree with him for taking a knee for the unjust assaults and killings of unarmed black people.

Let's analyze this for a second. Black military members would go to other countries and fight for that countries freedom, only to come back to their country, the United States, and not enjoy the same rights afforded equally to every other citizen and be treated like second or third-class citizens, if not worst. Told they had to sit at the back of the bus, get their food from the back door at a restaurant, and were not allowed to sit at the counters of Woolworths.  These black military members served proudly, they fought just as valiantly as their white counterparts and they died with just as much courage and pride. But to come back to the country with the motto “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” and be treated like shit was less than ideal. The military draft was instituted because there were not enough volunteers joining the military and there were plenty of black people drafted. Despite being drafted they went on and served, instead of coming up with excuses such as having flat feet, bone spurs, or walking around with feces and wetting themselves in order not to go fight like some non-patriots who shall remain nameless.

In the 2016-2017 NFL season Colin Kaepernick started a silent protest by sitting then taking a knee during the National Anthem, a protest for the assault and killings of black people at the hands of police. He wasn't the first athlete to protest the National Anthem. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly known as Chris Jackson, was the first. In the 1995-1996 NBA season, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf took a silent stand against the flag because he felt the flag was a symbol for oppression and the United States had a long history of tyranny. Just as with what has happened with Kaepernick in the 2016-2017 season, the same thing happened with Abdul-Rauf, it was the beginning of the end of his basketball career. Kaepernick's silent protest was noticed in the preseason of the 2016-2017 season; while Abdul-Rauf's protest wasn't noticed until March of the 1996-1997 season. Abdul-Rauf was suspended, then allowed to just stand, then allowed to stand and say an Islamic prayer to himself, but finally decided that standing there was no longer lining up with his Islamic beliefs. Abdul-Rauf and Kaepernick's protest are very different in reasoning, but are very similar with the outcome. Does the United States have a history of tyranny? It was built on tyranny and oppression. Remember the African slave trade, the Japanese internment camps, sending Jewish people back to Germany to be exterminated by Hitler, or how about sending people back to their countries that have come here trying to escape religious or political persecution. 

Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest has been a long time coming. There have been plenty of “rebellious” black people who have burned the flag and walked on the flag in protest of the oppression of what they felt the flag has represented to black people. When Kaepernick took his knee, he did so alone at first, and when it started gaining more notoriety and news coverage, more and more people took a knee in support of Colin Kaepernick.  The Beaumont Bulls Youth Football team took a knee in support of Colin Kaepernick, lost their head coach who was suspended by the executive board, and the team had to decide between continuing the protest and playing football. They decided to continue their protest and their season was cancelled. Did they do the right thing?  That’s no one’s call to make but those that have to live with that decision; however, those young people stood for a cause that they believed in. They made a call that some whole grown ass people waver in making, which has nothing to do with their livelihood, but more so to do with making their space comfortable for those with less melanin than themselves.

Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest on the San Francisco 49er’s side line made some people very uncomfortable within their lives.  A lot of people are very uncomfortable with the truth that Kaepernick made them face.  The fact that he is a mediocre quarterback is irrelevant since many NFL teams back in the 2016-2017 season and even now have less than mediocre QBs on their roster as a backup and some as a starter. Many applaud Colin Kaepernick for using his platform to shine a brighter light on the treatment of black people by police officers.  Many people are standing with Kaepernick for one reason or another.  It is apparent that many die-hard NFL fans would sacrifice their desire to watch their team on the gridiron in order for the oppression of black people to be acknowledged by everyone. It’s now for those that are upset, pissed off, and who have been belligerent with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the National Anthem to become uncomfortable with the killing of unarmed black people, only then will things start to change in this country.   


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