Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Colin Kaepernick – the former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback whom started a national protest, which included sitting down during the playing of the National Anthem. According to Kaepernick, that protest is now over.
While that may be the end of the story for Kaepernick, let’s dig a little deeper. Kaepernick, a decent quarterback and a more than decent locker room leader, chose to express his First Amendment right as an American and use free speech in sitting through the National Anthem. While I, personally, found it objectionable in that I believed it was not right to show disrespect to America and to those whom have given their lives in protecting our freedoms, there were plenty of others whom supported him. They supported him because they, too, saw and felt injustices in this country and found that sitting through the National Anthem was the best way to shine light on this matter. Kaepernick even backed his stance by providing a hefty monetary donation to the cause of black people dying to the hands of authority. Kaepernick’s 1 million dollar donation was matched by 49ers Owner, Jed York, as well.
So, while some disagreed and some agreed with Kaepernick’s tactic, one thing we could all agree on was that Kaepernick was gaining attention on something that has historically been swept under the rug in America. One of the biggest issues I, personally, had with Kaepernick’s stance came during this past presidential election. It was then that Kaepernick chose not to use the freedoms we have been given as he simply chose not to vote. Personally, I don’t care what side of the fence you’re on when it comes to Kaepernick’s argument, but you have to vote! Voting is what allows change to happen. Many say, “My single vote won’t matter.” But imagine if everyone in the country said that! As they say, “Every vote counts.” Kaepernick, though, chose not to use this right as an American citizen and therefore, in my mind, chose to go against his cause at that point.
During this NFL off-season, Kaepernick was released by the 49ers and is now unemployed and actively looking for a job. But now that he finds himself in the position of being unemployed, he has realized that employers don’t always appreciate being under the spotlight and being under media scrutiny. He’s realized that his employer may have an issue with him sitting during the National Anthem and he’s trying to “pretty it up”, as I call it. Ultimately, though, even though I don’t agree with disrespecting the flag, I don’t agree with disrespecting those whom have and whom continue to give up their lives for our country and our freedoms, and even though I don’t agree with not using your right to vote and to actually stand up for your causes and make a real difference, I also don’t agree with being “fake”. That’s right, Colin Kaepernick is now folding like a cheap tent…suit…call it anything you’d like. He’s pandering to employment and is giving up his beliefs because of it. I say, if you believe in something that strongly, which I don’t truly believe Kaepernick does in this case, you have to continue to fight for your beliefs. It is true that there are countless injustices in this world. Why there is so much hatred, why there are so many injustices and why there are so many stupid people in this world is well beyond my mental capacity…but there are. That, in and of itself is not going to change. To this, Bob Marley famously said, ““The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”
The point is, by standing up and fighting for your beliefs, change can happen. It’s not easy. Just ask Martin Luther King Jr. If change and leadership were easy, everyone would do it. Ultimately, the one true thing I can’t agree with out of Colin Kaepernick is his “quitter’s mentality”. To me, that is what he has. His pandering to employers just to find a job shows great weakness. So much so that if I were an owner, contrary to Kaepernick’s belief in finding employment, and even though I don’t personally agree with the manner for which he chose to support his beliefs, I would find his pandering to be a sign of weakness and I would realize, my quarterback needs to be a leader. Think about it, the quarterback’s job on the field is to be a leader. Would you want someone mentally weak in charge? I don’t think so.