Don’t let the Media Fool You: Kaepernick is no Brave Leader of Social Justice
Colin Kaepernick is not a social justice warrior. Nor is he a courageous man ‘taking a stand.’ And the San Francisco 49ers QB is certainly no Muhammad Ali — a preposterous comparison Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman made in his latest column.
In a misguided and disrespectful move, Kaepernick sat during Friday night’s national anthem before the 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers in a preseason contest at Levi Stadium.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media reporter Steve Wyche in an interview after Friday night’s preseason game. “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.”
Though Kaepernick has received some justified backlash — most notably from ex-teammate Alex Boone — the media has largely praised Kaepernick for refusing to stand during the national anthem.
The media lauded Kaepernick, despite the fact that he further perpetuated the myth that cops are mostly evil, which is a dangerous (and completely false) message to be sending to the public.
“Above all else, Kaepernick is absolutely right and should be applauded,” Johnson wrote. “The national anthem is a racist song, the federal government hasn’t done enough to protect African Americans in the face of institutional racism, and Kaepernick knows that just because he is a wealthy athlete doesn’t mean he’s not endangered by police brutality and racial discrimination.”
Robert Klemko, an NFL reporter for The MMQB, argues Kaepernick “took a stand by sitting down.” Apparently taking a stand — the phrase the liberal media spews out when discussing Kaepernick’s protest of institutional racism — is now as easy as sitting on a bench.
“America prefers its black athletes to shut up and appreciate the spoils of their hard work,” Klemko wrote in his column.
Contrary to the incorrect and race-baiting words from Klemko, athletes and celebrities — particularly those who are African-American — are often glorified just by mentioning social issues and injustices. Look no further than right now with the heavy applause for Kaepernick, as Johnson hailed the QB a “champion of justice.”
In actuality, Kaepernick is not making any strides in justice. Instead he is inciting more misplaced anger at the police, whom he ripped when speaking at his locker room the day after sitting out the national anthem.
“You can become a cop in six months, and you don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist,” Kaepernick said at the 49ers training facility on Saturday. “That’s insane. I mean, someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.”
Blasting the cops has no positive impact for those he feels are oppressed. If Kaepernick, who makes roughly $19 million per year to play in the NFL, wants to make a difference, he could become an active member of the community and start a charity for the less-fortunate minorities growing up in impoverished and deteriorated neighborhoods.
Or maybe he could use his platform to enact actual change by addressing the social issues African-Americans currently face. The shootings of minorities by cops is a real problem, and shouldn’t be overlooked. Mistreatment by cops is not acceptable and, furthermore, Kaepernick bringing that to attention can be worthwhile if done in a proper platform. But Kaepernick is dead-wrong in blaming only the cops for the “dead bodies in the street.” If his discussion is to be truthful and helpful for a real understanding of modern-day struggles of African-Americans, it must allude to the crime stats that show the leading cause of death among black men aged 15-to-34 is murder — by other black males.
Perhaps Kaepernick could take a page out of the book of former NFL player Pat Tillman, the Arizona Cardinals safety who left the NFL at the age of 25 to serve in the United States Army. Tillman served in tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before being fatally shot by friendly fire. He took a stand with his service to our country. He stood up for the innocent lives lost in New York on September 11th, 2001.
There is nothing valiant about sitting down during the national anthem, and the media members commending him are likely either unaware how the American flag symbolizes the freedom for all, or simply pandering to appear conscious to the plight of others.
The only courageous part of Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem? — it gives the 49ers another reason to release the woeful QB whose career has spiraled downhill since leading the franchise to the Super Bowl following the 2012 NFL season.