If Kaepernick Truly Understood His Right to Sit, He Would Surely Stand

Former Dallas County GOP Chairman Wade Emmert says of the NFL player who protested the national anthem: “The Flag of the United States represents the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms — the very freedoms Kaepernick enjoys.”

Colin Kaepernick sat in protest Friday night during the National Anthem, moments before the San Francisco 49ers took the field for their preseason game against the Packers.

What was he protesting? Racial injustice, of course.

Born out of the Black Lives Matter movement, and a willful distortion of the facts, celebs like Kaepernick stand (or sit, if you will) in support of a narrative that has a tenuous relationship to the truth. To figure out what he was thinking, we need look no further than his own words:

”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.”

Here are my quick take-aways from those comments:

  • Kaepernick is not proud of America.
  • He views America — apparently as a whole — as oppressive to blacks and other minorities.
  • Everyone who actually stood up during the National Anthem is being selfish.
  • There are bodies in the street, presumably black bodies.
  • There are people getting paid leave, presumably not blacks.
  • There are people getting away with murder, presumably the police.

Talk about painting with a broad brush. And did you notice he’s not just protesting during the National Anthem? He is actually protesting the anthem itself.

He puts all that rhetoric under the umbrella of racial injustice, and presumably the hand holding that umbrella is white.

Kaepernick’s protest says less about racial injustice in America and more about the progress that has been made in the last 50 years. In many ways, Kaepernick is a living example of the opportunities available to minorities in America on and off the field.

Kaepernick was born in 1987 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a single and destitute 19-year-old woman. His African American birth father took off before he was born. He was adopted by a white couple who had two other children.

He excelled in sports. His Senior year of high school he was all-state in football, basketball and baseball. He received several college baseball scholarships, and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs, but football was his first love, and off he went to the University of Nevada. He was drafted in 2011 by the 49ers.

The rest is history, as they say.

This year, Kaepernick will earn a base salary of $11,900,000, a roster bonus of $2,000,000 and a workout bonus of $400,000, as part of a 6 year, $114,000,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

Opportunities for minorities in America are not limited to sports. Though still below the national average, the median income of African Americans has grown tremendously since 1969. Education levels have improved too. In 2011, there were 3.9 million African American college students, almost double the number just 18 years earlier.

That is not to say there is no racism in America. There certainly is: white on black and black on white, not to mention racism among all the colors of the ethnic spectrum.

But to say that America, as a country, is inherently racist is flatly untrue and particularly troubling if people actually believe it.

America, like any country or group of people, is as good or as bad as its people. Saying America is racist is the same as saying Americans are racist. And disrespecting the people who have fought and died for our country doesn’t make it any better.

The Vikings’ Alex Boone, one of Kaepernick’s former teammates, chided Kaepernick for his lack of respect:

“It’s hard for me, because my brother was a Marine, and he lost a lot of friends over there…that flag obviously gives (Kaepernick) the right to do whatever he wants. I understand it. At the same time, you should have some (expletive) respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom.”

The Flag of the United States represents the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms — the very freedoms Kaepernick enjoys.

Because of those freedoms, Kaepernick has the luxury to speak his mind, no matter how misguided. And for that, he should be thankful.

And to show his thanks, he should stand during our National Anthem and sing the words written in 1812 which are just as poignant today.

Because no matter how distasteful America is to Colin Kaepernick, she is, and shall always be, worthy of respect as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Wade Emmert is the former Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party. This article was originally published in QuorumReport.com on August 30, 2016.