Well, football is back in America very soon; the colleges kick it off this weekend and the NFL follows suit the week after. And we already have our first national controversy.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem during a pre-season game a few days ago.
Colin K. is an bi-racial man adopted by white parents. In America, that makes him a black man.
Of course he set off a firestorm of criticism and once again highlighted the NFL’s complicated relationship with patriotism and the U.S. military.
Kaepernick said he was sitting out to stand up for minorities he says are oppressed across the country, citing widely reported instances of police brutality. His stance has led to accusations that he is disrespecting the United States as a whole, and troops and veterans who have served in combat specifically.
Now how does sitting during the national anthem as a peaceful protest disrespect the troops?
Well, back in May 2015 I posted a piece on what now goes on before NFL games:
“How many of you quietly cringed through the now practically mandatory “Honor the Troops” portion of the show? That part before the singing of the national anthem or the half time show – the part where everyone must stand while some members of the military in camouflage march out, bands play, giant flags are stretched across the field, a fly over of jets , ”our boy’s” faces on the jumbo-tron to be honored by a round of applause. Hands clapped for our heroes between bites of foot longs and a swig of beer by apathetic half drunks in the stands.”
When I wrote that I left out the wounded vets in wheel chairs, guests of the home team.
The NFL wanted us to believe that the troops were being honored by a grateful nation.
It turned out that those expressions of hyper-patriotism by the NFL were paid for by the military. Seems the Defense Department was paying NFL teams to sponsor these events. Approximately $5.4 million was paid to 14 NFL teams for what amounted too little more than publicity stunts.
It was of course, all done in secret – both the military and the NFL wanted us to think these events came from a heart-felt patriotism. How do these guys sleep at night? I wonder how those guys and gals that were so “honored” feel about it now?
Greedy billionaire owners of 14 NFL teams had their franchises take the money – tax payer money, paid in secret with the sole purpose of deceiving us.
Just another business “arrangement” between the corporate state and the military to (a) feed on government money and (b) brainwash us – especially our young men.
Colin has already stated that his silent, peaceful protest had nothing to do with disrespecting the military.
Every old retired Lt. Colonel and alt.right zealot came out of the closet simply appalled by Kaepernick’s silent, peaceful protest, never addressing the issue of police violence against minorities, the judicial system, the for-profit incarceration industry. A number of NFL players shared similar sentiments, accusing Kaepernick of disrespecting U.S. troops or worse. Minnesota Vikings guard Alex Boone called his decision “shameful,” while Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates tweeted that “it blows my mind how many people hate the country they live in,” before later deleting the message.
No one addressed the issue. His “crime” was disrespecting the military and the nation.
It was sitting silently which brought out the rage. Colin didn’t throw a bottle, burn down a white business, block the freeway, inconvenience folks going to work; he didn’t follow Malcolm and pick up a gun or burn the flag on his front lawn.
He sat. Silently. Peacefully.
The Trumpster came out immediately with a tweet – Kaepernick should “find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won’t happen.” This is the old “love it or leave it” chestnut,
Colin is a well known multi-millionaire football player. Take away the money and sports generated fame and he is simply a big, muscular 20 something year old tattooed black dude. If he was driving a nice car in a lilly-white suburban neighborhood in this country with a busted tail light there is a really good chance he would be stopped and a white police officer would be reaching for his gun as he approached the car. That’s Colin Kaepernick’s America.
Don’t be surprised if Colin’s future career doesn’t go well.
In the middle of the civil rights struggle in 1968 there were efforts to enlist black athletes in a boycott of the Mexico City Olympic games. The boycott fell apart leaving the iconic photo of John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising a gloved hand in protest. The IOC sent them home after the medal ceremony and ended their careers. The white athlete on the podium was lack Peter Norman. “At the time of his death in 2006 he still held the Australian record for the 200 meters race. Yet because he was wearing the same Olympic Project for Human Rights badge as the African American athletes, he was barred from EVER representing Australia again in the Olympics.”
I find it interesting that the vast majority of those “appalled” by Colin’s disrespect of the nation’s military never served a day. I did four years during Vietnam. My brother did a tour in the war zone. I did it to guarantee Colin’s right to sit down, to follow his conscious, to protest peacefully. Isn’t that what we wanted for the Vietnamese? If not, then all of America’s war dead died for nothing.