San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem before Friday night’s 49ers-Green Packers exhibition game as a protest against the United States. He has apparently been doing all NFL preseason, but it wasn’t noticed until the most recent game.
Questioned about his certain to be controversial gesture, the mixed race athlete—he had one white parent, and was raised by a white adoptive parent—explained thusly:
“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.”
1. Give him credit for one thing: he isn’t trying to take advantage of the King’s Pass. His star immunity is at low ebb, since Kaepernick’s status with his team is shaky and his job as a first string quarterback is in doubt, not because of his political views, but because he has been injured too much and not all that great when healthy. What he did was not in his own best interests. It took guts.
So does leaping naked into a zoo’s tiger exhibit.
2. His action wasn’t a protest. It was grandstanding. It generated publicity for a message that was incoherent. All his gesture said was “Colin Kaepernick is upset and has an irrationally inflated concept of how much anyone cares, or should care.”
3. Kaepernick could have salvaged his act by being ready with a well-reasoned, well-stated, articulate and persuasive explanation. Based on what he said, which was ignorant, counter-factual and foolish, we must assume that he actually gave thought to his response, and that this pathetic statement was the best he could come up with. That shows him to be incompetent, ill-informed, and not very bright.
4. His statement was recycled Black Lives Matter propaganda, and should be treated as such. If the “bodies on the street” reference is to Mike Brown, the long-standing complaint that the dead teen was intentionally left on the Ferguson street where he was shot as a gesture of disrespect has been thoroughly debunked. If it is a reference to African Americans shot in confrontations with police, it is too general to be taken seriously. There are multiple-colored bodies on the street shot by black criminals too. All bodies matter.
5, The paid leave statement is per se idiotic, and reflects the idea given currency by Black Lives Matter that cops who shoot blacks should be presumed guilty. Since the job places officers in perilous situations where a fatal shooting is a daily possibility, police departments can not operate with policies that automatically suspend officers without pay before investigations have been completed. In addition to the fact that such treatment would be unjust, unfair and irresponsible, police unions wouldn’t stand for it, and courts wouldn’t permit it. Kaepernick’s own union has similar rules: if he were accused of murdering someone, the team would place him on paid leave.
6. The United States does not oppress blacks or “people of color.” Regarding the latter, the U.S. allows over 11 million illegal immigrants, mostly “of color,” remain in this country although they are here illegally. Spanish speaking people of color are not required to learn the language, as they should. The schools must accommodate their children, when they fail their parental responsibility of teaching them English, by providing translations of written material and oral instruction. The United States has distorted almost every aspect of society in long-standing, expensive, divisive and often futile efforts to undo the cultural disadvantages inflicted by slavery and institutionalized racism. 41.6 % of black Americans receive government assistance in an average month; 36.4 percent of Hispanics; 17.8 % of Asians or Pacific Islanders, contrasted with 13.2 % of whites. That’s not oppression. Affirmative action, whereby blacks receive college admission preferences over whites with similar or better test scores and academic credentials, is still allowed by the courts (though it should not be) and is still employed in a majority of colleges. That’s not oppression. The current Justice Department and other federal agencies have enacted policies, many of them of dubious value, that have been aimed at assisting African-Americans, such as prohibitions on renters seeking information about past criminal convictions. That’s not oppression either. Most important of all, U.S. culture emphatically rejects and punishes open expressions of racism, as well as a lot of speech and opinion that isn’t racist at all, but is punished anyway, just to be safe. That often constitutes oppression on behalf of people of color, and it is all-American.
7. The lack of self-awareness in Kaepernick’s statement is staggering. According to Spotrac, he is playing football under a 6 year, $114,000,000 contract including a $12,328,766 signing bonus, with $61,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19,000,000. He certainly isn’t being oppressed. The oppressive system and nation he alleges didn’t do a very good job oppressing him. I suppose that’s because he is brilliant and remarkable, and defeated the best efforts of the U.S.A to oppress him. Is that his theory? Is so, Colin Kaepernick is not just ignorant and none too bright, but also an asshole.
8. Dorian Majied, an Army Ranger veteran who served in Iraq, responded to Kaepernick’s gesture of ingratitude and disrespect with a heartfelt rebuke that has been garnering praise on the web. I’m not as enthusiastic about it as some, because Majied panders by saying, gratuitously, “He made valid points…” What “valid points?” None of them are valid, and Kaepernick didn’t support any “points” with facts, presumably because he can’t.
9. Majied did make some valid and forceful points himself, however. Such as…
- “His sitting through the National Anthem was a lazy lack of will and brain power.”
- “As a member of a national organization, reaping the benefits of a country that apparently oppresses people who look like him, his argument is thin on a personal level.”
- “There are a myriad of other ways to conduct social protest for people of color, that don’t, whether by intent or otherwise, ignore the American principles that have given rise to extreme integration within a single American generation. My father was born without the right to vote and in one generation I’ve been blessed to lead amongst the world’s greatest fighting force.”
- “To disrespect the country that has afforded him the opportunities and fortunes he acquired is only made more offensive by the fact that his life is the personification of the ideals I see in the American flag and National Anthem: a biracial child, raised by white parents, and who has accomplished much despite his “oppression.” In how many more nations around the world can a story like that come to fruition?”
- “Kaepernick was wrong in his delivery and protested the wrong symbols of America. The American flag and National Anthem represent the highest of American ideals, not the lowest ideals.”
54 thoughts on “Observations On S.F. 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Anti-America Protest”
I see two issues emerging from this kerfuffle.
The first is the legitimacy of the statement(s) themselves regarding his “protest.” Are they valid? I am sure that depending upon how they are framed and by whom a certain level of that legitimacy can be justified. I tend to follow along – with some reservations – Jack’s reasoning.
The second issue is his chosen path to express himself. I fully support it. Don’t agree with the method, but that is his prerogative. Majiad had a nice summary.
It’s not his prerogative, though. He has no right to do this on the job. As with the lawyer held in contempt for wearing a black lives matter in court, or a bank where a teller chose to place a Black Lives Matter sign in his window, such displays are for off the clock, and definitely not on the field, on TV. The NFL should suspend and or fine him. He’s not a free agent when he’s wearing the uniform.
That was the other part of the Ranger’s post that I object to: he doesn’t have a right to do this and avoid employment sanctions. He has a right to scream “FUCK THE USA” on the field too, but I don’t respect that unethical exercise of the right, and this was unethical too.
I should have included this in the post, I suppose.
The 49ers team statement:
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
Saw it. It’s a weenie statement, because they don’t want to get Black Lives Matter mad at them. They should have said that his actions do not comport with his obligations as an employee, and that he’s suspended.
At least the NBA had the stones to tell Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (nee Chris Jackson) no, Mahmoud, you can’t stay in the locker room until the anthem is over, whatever your views, and we’re dinging you with a one-game suspension. You can pray to whoever during that time, but you can’t duck out.
I disagree on that one he has every right to protest while on the job and his employer has every right to handle it the way they see fit. If they do not approve of his actions they have their own options to do.
A right to protest on the job means the state can not punish him for him, nor require his employer to do the same.
Thank you for the clarification.
Try that again?
Answered by Michael already.
Answered, but not translated. What is “I disagree on that one he has every right to protest while on the job and his employer has every right to handle it the way they see fit. If they do not approve of his actions they have their own options to do” in English? I think I know what it means, but I shouldn’t have to work that hard.
Sometimes I occasional make a mistake just as YOU do Jack in your writing. Some have taken you to task on it and I choose not to do so. I expect the same.
You can expect the same, but when I ask for a clarification, I expect to get it. Your damn comment made no sense when I read it, I asked for a clarification, and your answer was “It was already answered.” When I find a typo or am alerted to one, I fix it. If I can’t understand a comment, another reader might not, so I correct mistakes in the comments of others, except in cases, like this one, where I could not decypher: “I disagree on that one he has every right to protest..”
Nor could I translate your request! That is why I stated Michael had answered it since my assumption was about the employee-employer relationship. Is this like the “fog of war” only the “fog of posting?”
The fog of posting. Don’t worry about it, my friend. Worry about the Sox beating KC tonight.
This will be a brutal run to the end. Even the Yankees have crawled back in.
Via a Magic Rookie, like McCovey, McGwire in the best case. I’m unconvinced.
“Worry about the Sox beating KC tonight.”
I like the Royals, but Jack, I truly ached while the Sox gave up those 8 runs to them tonight. I thought of you, and ached when the Fenway crowd gave those sarcastic cheers when the Royals made their 2nd and 3rd outs.
Pathetic. Almost made me crash the car in Atlantic City…
Same issue as always you get a nice 2 run lead and promptly walk two the next three batters. Then Barnes gives it up quicker than a drunk cheerleader on Prom Night.
It always refreshes my love for baseball to watch the Little League World Series. The U.S. champ even won it all, this year, against a good team from Korea – a team from “Maine-Endwell” New York. (I am smiling about how the NY team was able to “end well” in its run for the championship.)
I’m conflicted with this “America” thing as pertains to football.
In an ironic twist of fate, the Evil Empire (Dallas) has self-anointed itself as “America’s Team.”
Everyone up my way know that the real “America’s Team” is community owned, plays in Lambeau Field, and calls the aptly dubbed “Titletown” home.
The NFL is – no doubt – embarrassed by his actions. The same NFL that had no problem honoring veterans provided their league and teams were paid for giving that honor. The NFL itself has an illustrious history of avoiding or attempting to circumvent their own despicable actions regarding CTE and other issues. This is a minor issue and was virtually unnoticed until recently.
Maybe with his NFL future in doubt, he’s putting out feelers for a career as an insufferable, America-hating pro-wrestling villain.
Thanks for posting on this. I don’t think Colin is the sharpest pencil in the drawer. Anyone who regurgitates the BLM claptrap is of suspect intellectual capacity. Plus, anybody who kisses his biceps on national TV is marginally reprehensible in my book as well.
This may be judged a bias on my part, but I believe one’s IQ is inversely proportional to the % of one’s body that is tattooed.
I think this is how Colin views his oppression:
He (like our current President) was fathered by a man of color of one sort or another, Hispanic? Arab? Who knows. His father took off clearly because the white power structure oppressed him by not giving him a decent job and education and scorned him for being in an inter-racial marriage. His biological mother was also a victim because she was scorned by the white power structure for having sex with a man of color and then making her give up the baby to some white couple who just wanted a really gifted athlete of color as a son so they could be taken care of. So that was all the white man’s fault. Now, being of mixed race, Colin is unappreciated. If he were a white quarterback, he’d be a starter and the second coming of Brett Favre. Instead, he’s called not smart enough to make sound on field decisions or lead a team, because he’s not white. He’s also scorned because he likes body art. People tell him he looks like a violent felon on one of those prison cable TV shows. Why can’t he express himself and look like a felon? Oppression. And anyway, violent felons have been oppressed. That’s why they’re violent felons. The jails oppressed the bodies of men of color. Sure, he’s paid a lot of money but he’s not loved and he doesn’t get big endorsement deals like the Manning brothers, for example. Oppression. The money he’s paid is little more than economic slavery. He puts his body on the line for what, mere money. Oppression.
This is the kind of thinking you get when you mix young minds with whacky social theories. He’s probably read part of an article about Tahanishi Coates, or something.
He really does come off as a pompous buffoon. He now says he won’t stand until he is satisfied that there have been real changes, though his own description of what needs to be changed is infantile.
Well I guess they’d better keep a seat cleared for Kap for the rest of his playing days.
Sorry, Jack. Go Royals.
I like the Royals a lot, and will be really sorry when their current sprint of good luck (like that ridiculous Baltimore chop last night keying their big rally) ends with them missing the play-offs.
It would be even tougher this year to pull it off, but I’m just glad they’re making August and September interesting. I’m willing to pull for the Red Sox if they don’t make it.
I will root for the Red Sox, if the Royals lose out. I will root especially for the Red Sox, if they have to play the Nationals or the Cubs in the Series. But I’ll still favor the Dodgers or Cardinals over the Red Sox, if either of those teams make the Series. What am I saying?! I live in Texas; I want the Rangers to win it all, for once. I just wish they would win it all despite better competition from the Astros. But, I fear (and project), the Rangers’ “whuppin'” of the Astros will continue, this coming weekend.
I personally hate all this rah rah Patriotic bullshit that we see at every sporting event. From the fly overs to thanking the vets. Its all fake , forced and only done so the NFL, MLB and the NBA can say they support the troops. None of its heartfelt and you can tell. If it was real I wouldn’t mind it .
As to Kaepernick not standing I believe that’s his right and the NFL cant make him stand. I think it would be different if he came out wearing a Black Lives Matter tee shirt. Doing that he is interjecting something extra in to the game but by not standing he is refusing to participate in a political statement. But I think its all just to satisfy his own ego not make any real point.
I also think its a stunt so when the 49rs cut him he can blame it on this not on the fact that he cant play anymore.
Is he really recently diminished on the skill front or have defenses just figured out how to box him in and expose whatever flaws he has? I suspect his predilections when under pressure have been identified and exposed. He’s evidently got a gun for an arm so someone will want him as long as he’s got that going for him. Unless he’s too easily defensed and thus a liability. I just don’t think he’s lost anything physically. He’s still too young for that.
Physically I believe he has lost something due to his weight loss over the off season. He is not as big as he use to be and I don’t think he can take a pounding.
The Rams’ you’ll recall, did come out onto the field with a “hands up!” gesture…but the Cowboys forbade its players from wearing a “blue lives matter” sticker on their helmets. Political statements don’t belong on stage or on the field.
But both of those are the players ADDING something to the game. He was just refusing to participate in what can be seen by some as a political activity.
It’s a political gesture. Nobody rational thinks of the anthem as political: its a community binding thing, and tradition. What does standing for the anthem signify politically?
God Bless America midway through baseball games IS political.
No difference. Actions speak louder than words, right?
I think Bill has it right, though I don’t know the law on this. I know students don’t have to say the pledge of allegiance, but teachers can make them stand for it. Not sure what the law is regarding employees. If I’m a cashier at Wal-Mart, and my boss makes me stand for the national anthem, do I have a first amendment case? Is it different for an NFL player?
Students have limited rights. Pro Athletes defying or appearing to oppose an employer’s display as part of its product is legitimately a workplace breach: it has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem. The team chooses to make a patriotic show part of the game experience, and its the player’s duty not to undermine it. There are always contact terms covering this….not embarrassing the team is enough.
“The team chooses to make a patriotic show part of the game experience, and its the player’s duty not to undermine it.”
So the employer is forcing his employees to make a political statement. (Yes, patriotism is by definition political.) Is that really allowed, in an otherwise apolitical job environment? Can Wal-Mart make its cashiers do the same thing?
The NFL is really patrotic when it comes to vets.
Patriotism isn’t political.It’s bi-partisan, and a civic duty: good citizenship. Wal-Mart isn’t entertainment. The better example is Disney.
Bipartisan doesn’t necessarily mean apolitical, and civic duties are somewhat subjective; to Kaepernick, protesting systemic racism by refusing to stand is his civic duty.
You’re right that entertainment companies can control behavior by employees in ways other companies can’t. I still think if a Disney star wants to sit out during the national anthem at some company event, they should be able to do so. It seems that’s NFL’s policy, which is sensible, even if the law says they could compel Kaepernick to stand if they wanted to.
Does this comment not fall into the category of “just because it is his right to do so does not make it right to do so”? Or “legal but still unethical”?
And as long as we’re discussing ethics…
No. I’m asking what the law is, since I don’t know.
I’m pretty sure a court would say that dismissing or punishing an employee for forced conduct relating to political beliefs would be illegal, unless the contract was termination at will, as long as the conduct didn’t disrupt the workplace (“Stop heiling, Neidermier!”) or put the company in a bad public light. This is an example of conduct affecting a company’s product and image, however. If a player’s private, legal conduct off the field can be grounds for punishment, conduct on the field surely can.
As a spectator, I go to entertainment events to get away from this stuff for a few hours, and damn entertainers for pushing my face into their semi-thought out political views. That’s not what I’m paying for, and not where their talent lies.
Clearly, the guy’s a genius. Check his instagram posts out in this article:
He mimicks the president by scolding people for worrying about muslim extremists because you’re more likely to die from a heart attack or cancer, etc. Just like the president talking about bathtub slip and falls being more a threat than, well, you know, but we can’t say it can we.
“1. Give him credit for one thing: he isn’t trying to take advantage of the King’s Pass. His star immunity is at low ebb, since Kaepernick’s status with his team is shaky and his job as a first string quarterback is in doubt, not because of his political views, but because he has been injured too much and not all that great when healthy. What he did was not in his own best interests. It took guts.”
I give him no such credit. I see this in the Caesar’s Wife/ Jackie Robinson/ Michael Sam paradigm.
When you’re the first to do something, especially when a right’s movement is involved, it is imperative that the person in question is perfect. They must not only play well, they must play great, they cannot have underlying personal or professional faults… That way no one is whispering about why that person is REALLY in that position. Look at Sam… Was he hired because he was gay? Or because he could play? Was he shunted down the draft because he was gay, because he was a grandstander, or because he wasn’t THAT great?
Kaepernick is on the edge. And if he looses his position now, will the public go: See! Black guy saying pro black things getting kicked to the curb! RACISM! It doesn’t matter that he was already on the ropes! RACISM!
And you think the 49ers aren’t aware of that? And what will they do? With their weenie statement as a roadmap: Kaepernick cemented his job security for another season.
I don’t think he’s that smart. If he was, he would have prepared a better statement.
He doesn’t seem to protest the American dollars he puts into American banks though…