Kaepernick: A Short Story on Distrust and Leftism

Colin Kaepernick’s NFL protest came at a critical time in the American social conciousness; as Black Lives Matter protests reach a fever pitch and the nation reels from protest, counterprotest, police violence, and rioting cities like in Fergeuson and Baltimore. It seemed a no better time to take a stand and have a peaceful protest: not stand up for the national anthem. Many identifying as on the Left praised it as the most appropriate moment, and at the most appropriate place to center a progressive message while millions of Americans and their families were together, watching. It drew up images of past historical protest by athletes like Muhammad Ali, Chris Jackson (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), or Tommie Smith & John Carlos that the movement felt it needed to have a legitimacy but also authenticity to it’s protest. Yet the seasons went on, games were played,people reacted , some of his NFL peers acted in short solidarity while others grossly scorned , and yet by 2017 only Mr.Kaepernick is out of a Career in the NFL, what happened?

Before continuing, Colin Kaepernick’s protest is not an acceptable reason into itself to kill the messenger. The message of the protest is clear: Black Lives Matter and more needs to be done to talk about police brutality, and conduct. However authenticity seemed to always be the crux of the issue here, and in being so adamant, Mr.Kaepernick positioned himself as associated with BLM and in turn took on the burden of BLM’s criticisms and expectation due to a celebrity status. The Expectation of him being “above” what the NFL believed otherwise against him or accused him of not being was palpable: Will Mr. Kaepernick suggest an electoral solution? Where does Mr.Kaepernick fall on the political spectrum? Certainly he spoke a lot of fiery rhetoric and brushed Anarchist ideas when speaking of institutions of power but Colin Kaepernick did not consider that he was simply a google search away from being called a fraud by detractors. Having graduated from Nevada State University in Business Management, the heroic protestor can be no stranger to the kind of media centered and ratings fuelled protest he’s conducting: He’s courting American people, selling them the idea that Black Lives Matter, revolution, rather than building up or being more active in building political power to change our power structure. It goes without saying that his 2016 refusal to vote statements, in which he defended not voting at all(Presidential, State, Laws) as a kind of liberation from the oppressive institution of the state. This is fine when posturing to not vote for the two most unpopular choices for President ever; Otherwise this is a reckless and silly way to utilize Anarchism when said individual refuting voting is still protesting police power. It’s nothing short of unacceptable of an activist yet it is not the end.

Mr. Kaepernick’s actions since leaving the NFL are a step in a better direction from cleaning up the image of a simply renegade football player selling revolution at half time. Engagement with people and moving them to vote should be the focus of this police protest. The American public cannot ignore or excuse any longer, it wasn’t more political engagement that got us here but the opposite: not voting. Not voting is what has gotten us into the corporate two party oligarchical hell led by Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s coup of Congress. More action is needed, organization, message, and strength to further win our rights and crush this casino-style capitalist system.