Much has been written about the 49ers QB in the first 36 hour since the media figured out he wasn’t standing for the national anthem. (He didn’t stand for 2 previous games but no one noticed him because he wasn’t in uniform) Some like Outkick the Coverage‘s Clay Travis have called Mr. Kaepernick an idiot, while others like Shaun King of the New York Daily News have strongly defended his actions. The reaction in America has predictably been very partisan with the overall consensus falling somewhere in the middle. “Colin has the right not to stand, but disagree with his actions” I have enjoyed reading all the columns on the Kaepernick situation and highly recommend this Barstool Sports post from Uncle Chaps and the thoughts of an ex-Army Ranger in the Independent Journal Review, both opinions were well thought out and very insightful.
Throughout most of his career, Colin has been widely known as the NFL version of Ryan Lochte, a self-absorbed douchebag who only cared about living the “Bro” lifestyle. I was shocked when I heard the anthem news Saturday morning, and my initial reaction was “wow, what an idiot!” but after reading his quotes and watching his Sunday press conference, Mr. Kaepernick appears sincere in his beliefs. (although I must admit, I did take pause when he talked in the very basic of generalities and didn’t understand the term “blanket indictment”) If his convictions are that strong, I am glad he is taking a stand and wish him the best. His NFL career however, on life support entering training camp, is now DOA. If the 49ers decide to release him, I would be shocked if another NFL club would take a chance, Colin is now radioactive and his current play is not worth the headache or fan backlash. Colin will probably go down in NFL history as a flop, he had two outstanding seasons in 2012 & 2013 but once NFL defenses figured out how to stop him, he’s been totally ineffective and his slide to football oblivion has been meteoric.
By taking this anthem stance or “sit-in”, Mr. Kaepernick is hoping that his NFL legacy will not be one of failure but one of change. He realizes this is probably his last chance to have this big a platform, and wants to go out fighting for something he now believes in. Even if you don’t share his beliefs you have to admire his bravery . That being said, I disagree with Colin’s beliefs and actions. I view standing for the anthem as a thank you to all the brave men and women who have fought to make this country a wonderful land of freedom and opportunity. Yes there are racial problems in this country, and social media definitely brings out the worst in people. It’s really easy for Colin to tweet Malcolm X and MLK quotes and act outraged retweeting articles about police misconduct on Twitter and Instagram, but if Mr. Kaepernick really hates this country and believes black people are under attack, he will stop sitting for the anthem and get to work fixing it. I want Colin to use his anger the right way, and help change the system. He needs to follow Jim Brown’s lead and campaign with state and local candidates who share his values, help recruit more minority police officers, and most importantly continue working with kids from low-income neighborhoods. Hopefully Colin’s actions in the future will match his words, and he can learn to love his country again.
One other thing, can we please stop with the constant comparisons of Colin Kaepernick to Muhammad Ali?!?, and the “you can’t respect Ali and be angry at Kaepernick narrative“! Like Ali, Colin is taking a stand for something he believes in and like Ali, Colin is taking a lot of shit for it, but as of right now that is pretty much where the comparisons end. Ali was at the height of his career and the biggest figure in sports when he took a stand against participating in the Vietnam War, and was willing and did lose everything. Colin is taking a stand during the downside of his career, and even if this action ends his NFL playing days, he still has $61 million to fall back on. The stakes were FAR greater for Mr. Ali, and it was his actions in later life that helped heal those wounds, and led to his worldwide adoration. That being said, we can’t predict the future, and in 40 years we might also regard Mr. Kaepernick as a cultural icon, and see his anthem stand as a seminal moment in U.S. racial relations. The point is, we don’t know…let historians in the future make the comparison, for right now its way too soon for the cable news “instant legacy debate”. Calling people morons for respecting Ali and hating Colin might get you a ton of retweets and likes but it’s not helping the conversation. Colin is ending the first chapter of his adult life by sitting for something he believes in, can we plrease all sit back and see how the Colin Kaepernick story turn out before we write the book review on his legacy!
thanks for reading