Whether one chooses to stand erect -with head bowed- while donning a gloved black fist, or remain in a seated position during the fanfare of “The Star Spangled Banner”, few melanated American athletes can escape the admissible scrutiny of the notably objective court of public opinion. Just like his 1968 Olympic predecessors, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers is learning to reevaluate the highly disrespectful act of peacefully and silently protesting social injustices.
After all, no one with such access to a public platform –save for legacy billionaire tycoons with rusty blonde quaffs of “duck-butt” hair- should ever challenge “the establishment”. Absolutely, no celebrity athlete should unobtrusively make a political statement for others to see or -God forbid- admire and be inspired by. The job need only entail the entertainment of the general public, donning skin-tight NFL regulation spandex, a few slaps on the hind-parts, and shutting up!
In the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, professional football players like Colin Kaepernick are revered for their ability to remain fiercely competitive against the opposition.
They are truly venerated as efficient tacticians and strategists on the simulated battlefield, and they are idolized for their ability to “earn” an absurd amount of coinage through the rigors of their demanding careers, even if their team’s winning record slowly deteriorates from season to season. Having to endure a multitude of pesky endorsement deals takes a level of sacrifice as well. Watching those residuals accumulate, while sitting behind the wheel of a Jaguar, cannot be easy for Mr. Kaepernick. We can understand that much.
What these gridiron guys are NOT supposed to do is exercise their right to vehemently express their opinion so publicly, and Brother Kaepernick should have known better. Heaven forbid that his actions –or lack thereof- inadvertently became the catalyst, which prompted a fan or two to contemplate issues beyond the perpetual crushing blows of fifty mile an hour tackles. Who on earth does he think he is, a potential role model or something?
It is widely known that “privileged” brown-skinned celebrities of various sorts shed their pigmentation as they roam freely through our enlightened and post-racial world. Every now and then however, a luminary renegade chooses to bring attention to himself by occupying space that he should have stayed clear of. Tennis star James Blake might have known better than to loiter in front of the Grand Hyatt in midtown Manhattan during a September day in 2015. How was Officer James Frascatore supposed to know that the Harvard educated athlete wasn’t up to no good? After all, Blake was standing there and breathing; a tell-tale indication of thuggery. Frascatore has a history of valiantly administering a liberal helping of “ass whippin’ ” to members of so-called marginalized groups. Just ask the ferocious lone fellow in Queens who Frascatore -our shining brave prince in blue- along with three other officers, excessively pepper-sprayed.
Our hero is also noted for dealing with miscreants like Warren Diggs, by bashing him so hard as he rode his bicycle that he fell to the ground. To punctuate his brave deed, Officer Frascatore was successful in arresting Diggs’s wife for “tampering with evidence” by thoughtlessly moving her injured husband’s bike. The nerve! How could Mr. Kaepernick think to be so dismissive of the bravery that well trained law-enforcement officers like Frascatore regularly exhibits? Speaking of “uppity”, Oprah Winfrey’s encounter inside a Zurich boutique is merely another example of the mass delusion of “racial profiling”. Her wealth and fame most certainly cloak her ethnicity and gender, and we all know it.
A major issue regarding this contemptuous Colin snafu revolves around the lack of respect that the flawed 49er exhibited toward our veterans during his demonstration. Many of those who have served have made their disdain for the football player’s actions quite plain. However, there are some who have chosen to drink Kap’s Kool-Aid. According to U.S. military veteran Antonio Ramirez, Colin Kaepernick was well within his right to exercise his patriotic duty as a citizen by refraining from standing during the national anthem. Ramirez asserts that “I may not agree with Kaepernick. But I agree that I defended everyone’s freedom of speech.”
Emmy Jay, another veteran, expresses disparagement towards all veterans who recklessly speak on her behalf. “I served for EVERYONE’S freedom. Don’t presume to speak for me. I got this,” she states. This raises an important question: Who the hell are these women and men who actually support Colin Kaepernick’s despicable display? Just because these folks have selflessly served our nation by making the ultimate sacrifice does not mean that their opinions warrant any attention. Lest we not also forget that the “9ers” QB also made the questionable decision to wear a shirt that featured the likeness of Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro; a man known to have historically provided a tremendous amount of support and aid to nations with citizens of predominately African descent. How dare he tip his hat to a tyrant who sought to liberate any member of “the third world”.
I suppose that when it’s all said and done, Colin Kaepernick has the right to do or say what he pleases. Nevertheless, he needs to recognize that it’s not his place to make any waves, bite the hand that feeds him, or challenge the owners who allow him to dwell in the mighty big house of the NFL. Feeling any sense of empathy for a cause that directly affects him isn’t reason enough to “revolt” either. In a nutshell, he can gripe and moan all he wants, but any raging against the machine is futile. Remember:
“No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave”
It’s the American way!