Colin Kaepernick sat down for the playing of the national anthem in a preseason NFL game. He upgraded to kneeling in a second one. A few others have followed his lead.
And it’s news.
I am not sure. It’s nothing.
No, really. It’s nothing.
He sat down during a song in which it is traditional to stand. People have sat down before and people will do it again.
This is the biggest nothing since a gold-medal winning young lady didn’t put her hand over her heart for the national anthem.
At least she was standing up.
Undeterred by the common sense of priority and reality, the news media is making a big deal out of Kaepernick. It’s a $100 worth of news coverage on a twenty-five cent story. The reason is simple: The story is about Colin Kaepernick, not what Kaepernick says it should be about.
Kaepernick says did it to protest injustice that takes place under the American flag. He said that while being oppressed to the tune of millions of dollars which he will not earn by playing since he won’t be starting.
That means he will be sitting a lot. On one hand, I suppose he is getting in midseason form by sitting down. On the other hand, he has done nothing for the cause he claims to be concerned about.
In a moment of irony he surely missed, he showed up at a news conference to protest oppression while wearing a shirt with Fidel Castro’s picture on it. Protesting oppression alongside a Cuban dictator. Ironic!
On second thought, that’s not irony. It’s way past irony.
But I digress.
Here’s the big problem: No one is talking more about injustice than they were last month. Instead, they are talking about Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who has nothing to complain about.
All he accomplished was to spark a debate about how important it is to stand up for the national anthem and whether or not employers should mandate it.
Let Kaepernick sit down if he wants to. The flag and anthem he used to protest is what enables him to protest.
But if you want to do something about injustice, then get up off your seat. Sitting down while you make millions in on the back of a free college education isn’t exactly being Jackie Robinson. Or Martin Luther King, Jr. These days it’s not even being Doug Williams. (ICYDK, Williams was the first black quarterback to win an NFL league championship and Super Bowl.)
If you want to do something about injustice, it will take more than sitting down during the national anthem of an NFL preseason game. You are going to have to talk about real issues.
Let’s start with the fact that thousands of African-Americans are denied the basic justice of life itself every day. It’s called abortion. The Democrats stand firmly behind this systematic extermination of the black community. They won’t lift a finger to stop it. Instead, they are doing everything they can to prolong and protect this extermination. Republicans are scarcely much better. It helps to get them elected, but that’s about it. There’s no one speaking up much for the unborn. And Kaepernick didn’t change that.
Let’s continue with the fact that thousands of African-American children have no father in their home or even in their life. The government has become their daddy, doling out the basic needs of life while letting men have sex without consequences. Why should they care? They get to do their thing with their honey for the night (who may not be their honey tomorrow night), and they have a rich uncle (Uncle Sam, that is) that will take care of the few who make it long enough to see the light of day over the machinations of Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Party. Kaepernick’s sit-down didn’t spark any conversation about fatherhood. That’s ironic given the fact that Kaepernick was adopted and raised by two white people because his own father fled and left a single mother. If anyone knows, it should be Kaepernic.
How about the fact that thousands of African-Americans will suffer in substandard schools because the government forces them to stay there rather than giving them true school choice. And their parents don’t care enough or don’t have enough leverage to force change. Those kids will live in bad neighborhoods and go to bad schools. And some of them will end up like a young man a few blocks away from here who, a couple of weeks ago at the ripe old of age of fourteen, was paralyzed for life by a gunshot to the neck. Now the state of Michigan has decided that failing schools don’t have to close until 2019, meaning three more years of failing education for kids with all the results that come with it. Kaepernick’s seat on the sidelines won’t give these kids a new seat in the schoolroom. They are consigned to failure with no alternatives.
We haven’t even talked about the fact that thousands of African-Americans will have no mentors who will teach them there is a better way. No one will teach them how to work, how to shake hands, how to dress and talk appropriately, how to be a husband and a dad (in that order). There will be no women to help the young ladies learn to respect their bodies and their future, to get an education, to learn how to nurture children, and pick a good man and stay with him for life. Almost none of them will get a free ride to play football or basketball, or anything else. The only free ride they might get is in the back of a squad car. Kaepernick isn’t provoking anyone to talk about how to mentor the young people.
Kaepernick’s sit down isn’t sounding the message that a black person’s chances of being killed by the police are between slim and none, and none is a lot closer than slim when you do what you are told, even if you think it is unjust. There’s a place to fight police brutality and systemic racism. But you can’t do it from a casket. Kaepernick’s sit-down isn’t getting people to talk about that.
You see, this is simple: Sitting down for the national anthem won’t address any actual problems. And even if it got people talking about it, it won’t change anything because talk never does.
We don’t need more talk about it. Round tables simply go around. We need action. We need serious people with serious solutions. We need people who will get past the rhetoric and the talking points and start looking for things that work.
We need people who will move in to communities, coach ball teams, get involved in the local schools, hang out and play basketball with kids on the street, and talk straight to them when they need it.
We are past the point where sitting down for an anthem while preparing to make a few million playing a game will make much of a statement.
We need more. Stand up Colin. Do something meaningful. It won’t make the news. But it might make a difference.