August 30, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013
Recently, at a pre-season NFL game, and we all know how much those games usually matter, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers wanted to make sure this one meaningless game did matter.
So, he sat down on his team’s bench and rested a bit.
So what, you say?
Yep, normally I’d agree. But Colin Kaepernick, the QB in discussion, chose to park his rear-end on the bench while everyone else, and I mean everyone else (his team, the other team, the referees, the fans, the police security, the color guards, the flag-bearers, the singers) stood.
And mostly bowed their heads while our national anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) was played just before the game was to start.
And we noticed. And we talked about it. And we still are.
Which is apparently just what Mr. Kaepernick (nicknamed the CAP) wanted to happen.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean what he did is a good thing. Or was it?
First, why did he sit while everyone else stood?
Well, he says it certainly wasn’t because he was tired. The game hadn’t yet started, remember?
Nope. He claims that this was his way of protesting about what he thought of when the national anthem was played and the USA flag was unfurled. Specifically, he says that he thought of the recent police brutality against African-Americans and that this was such an injustice that to stand and symbolically “salute” the flag in light of this injustice was in his view, unconscionable.
In other words, you all stand. I will sit because this is what I think of the flag and at least a portion of what it represents to me.
The response has been swift and while mixed it has contained a clear and forceful backlash against the CAP and his decision, which by the way, he says will continue indefinitely, to sit whenever the national anthem is played and the flag unfurled.
His former coach at SF and current university of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh tweeted that he “didn’t respect his motivation or his action.” He later tweeted that he meant only to say he didn’t respect his action (to sit). A rookie football player with the Philadelphia Eagles tweeted that he was with Kaepernick and was gonna sit too. But then apparently, after his Agent spoke to him and gave him an insider’s view of 1) The money and endorsements he and consequently, the Agent would lose and 2) The city of Brotherly Love could and would turn to something other than “love” if the rookie sat, he decided that he’d stand after all.
Commentator and ESPN blow-hard/soothsayer (your choice) Stephen A. Smith called for “everyone to just shut the hell up” in the name of freedom of speech in response to Kaepernick’s stance. Puzzling but then Stephen A. seems a bit lost recently without his running buddy, Skip Bayless.
Suffice to say lots of folks in and outside of sports have weighed in on CAP’s decision to park it on the bench including of course, the GOP presidential nominee, Mr. Donald Trump. “The Donald” tweeted that if Kaepernick really felt that way then maybe could move to some other country that worked better for him.
Well, seeing as how the CAP signed a $114 million contract to, when not sitting on the bench, toss a football for a living, it seems it is working out for him quite nicely right here in the good old US of A.
Of course, when a famous athlete or celebrity chooses to willingly use the spotlight and incredible forum they have due to their fame to make a statement that isn’t just about promoting their recent Nike shoes on the paying public lots of things about him or her get noticed. And scrutinized. And criticized.
Sort of like choosing to play football for a living sometimes getting crushed by a 350 pound lineman or blindsided just comes with the territory.
So, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that since the CAP chose to sit, his money, ability, talent, motivation, leadership, locker room presence, citizenship, loyalty to this country, his sexuality and even his race have all been questioned and put on the table.
For the record, a former NE Patriot and now NBC analyst, Rodney Harrison, says that Kaepernick is “not black” and so doesn’t speak for all blacks. Which I’m guessing impliedly means that Rodney is black and speaks for all blacks.
Ok, so what if the CAP is just speaking for himself as whatever race he happens to be, then what?
Our flag does represent freedom of speech, even burning the flag in protest, as abhorrent as it is to a vast majority of us is deemed to be a form of “protected free speech” under the First Amendment by our US Supreme Court.
And all Mr. K did was sit down.
Yet, many have also raised the point that while The Star Spangled Banner has been adopted as our national anthem, embodying what historically many thought to be in large part what makes America, well, America (Freedom, Bravery, Courage) it is also inherently, a song about war. And military might. And valor during and in the face of overwhelming military odds.
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
As you can see, the original words that were penned by Francis Scott Key of American heroism has been changed though retaining key passages like what we all are accustomed to hearing sung now before games like;
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The point here?
Just that it is an anthem that is ripe with images and sounds of war and so our military men and women have always embraced this anthem to be “their” song as much, maybe even more than it is anyone else’s.
And so not surprisingly, many in the military who have made public comments at least, have angrily denounced Kaepernick’s sitting as an insult to anyone who ever wore or today wears the uniform.
This includes law enforcement officials as well. As the SF police union, which includes the police who help secure the football stadium where the CAP tosses those footballs for glorious money, has demanded an apology from the QB.
Which he says won’t be coming anytime soon.
Does the QB owe more respect to the many for their sacrifice than he has shown? He says that he means no disrespect to our military or our veterans.
But when you choose to willingly disrespect a flag for all that it stands for, can you select only certain portions you don’t like and leave the rest alone?
Or when you toss out the dirty bathwater must the baby go out with it?
Maybe more to the point-Will Kaepernick’s conscious decision to make this sit-down-protest help bring about the change he says he wants to see or will his message be lost as many now debate his race, his sexuality, his QB rating and the color of his skin?
Either way the NFL has yet another public relations fiasco on its hands that right now is trying to figure out a way to resolve it before the glorious Carrie Underwood belts out her own anthem and helps kick-off the real NFL season.
At least no one is talking about this clown directly below.