Dear Colin, Please Stand Up
We all have the ability to make change. Yes. You. Me. Everyone. Most of us squander those chances in pursuit of things that don’t really seem that bad. To further a career. To avoid friction. You know, a peaceful existence. I have always respected people that stand up for what they believe. People who make their voices heard. People who leverage their position for the betterment of their fellow man.
This is where I diverge way off course from Colin Kaepernick. You see, I see the news. I write about it. It hurts me. I have cried way to many times over the abuse and terror certain groups of people still have to endure. It is 2016. We still act like it is 1758. We don’t love our brothers and sisters. No, we classify them by color, sex, and anything else that makes it easy for us to put them into convenient categories.
It is one thing to leverage your position and influence. It is another to get people to pay attention to you. Kaepernick used to matter. He used to be one of the guys you could expect to see on ESPN top plays every week of the NFL season. Those days have passed. Currently, he is the number two quarterback on a team that chose to pick up another washed up quarterback to start in front of him. Look, dude can still play. He will still make plays. Those plays are going to be few and far between though. He isn’t some polarizing personality. He is the guy that used to kiss his biceps after every big play. He was about “me”.
Than he decides to not stand for the National Anthem. The crazy thing about this is it went unnoticed for 2 weeks because of how far he has fallen from the view of the cameras. He sat during the National Anthem for two weeks and no one noticed. Think about that. We are overly concerned with Tom Brady’s balls and yet, somehow, we missed this. I am not trying to be rude but the reason is simple. We don’t care about Colin Kaepernick anymore and he knows it.
Now, I think Kaep has something important to say. I don’t disagree with his anger, in fact, I share it. Please read that last line several times so you get the context of where I am going correct. I agree with his opinion and I completely disagree with his actions. According to Kaepernick ,this is why he is sitting:
“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 in an exclusive interview after the 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.”
Now, check out the 49ers statement on the situation:
“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 and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
To reflect on the great liberties we are afforded. You know, the ability to play a game for a living. The ability to question the government, law enforcement, every damn thing you want. Standing during the National Anthem isn’t supporting the wrongs of this country. No, it is acknowledging that you will always have a voice because of the rights that have happened. You can join in those rights, Kaep. You can use your voice every chance you get to say the important things people, namely white people, need to hear. You can leverage your San Francisco fan base to do amazing things. Crazy idea, you can put some of that money you have made to play a game to better your community and those that surround it.
If you want to change things, you can’t sit until someone notices you. Our silence is deafening sometimes. Self promotion is blinding. I want Kaep to become a voice that matters. I want him to help change things. That starts by being better than what you are battling. Being divisive isn’t how that starts. Coming across as disrespectful to the flag also doesn’t get the audience you need.
Dear Kaep, please stand up.
Please speak up.
The National Anthem isn’t your enemy, and that is what it seems like now.