colin-kaepernick

The sun revolves around Colin Kaepernick

I’m not a sports fan, but I don’t mind if you do. I find sportspeople talking about sport to be one of the most tedious and useless things under the sun (“So why did you lose the game?” “Well, the other team just played better today, Sam.”). I’m even less interested in what sportspeople have to say about topics others than sport. Actually, make that most celebrities, stars and famous people.

Until today I wasn’t even aware of the existence of an NFL team San Francisco 49ers, or their quarterback Colin Kaepernick (I consider myself blessed); but then I read that before a recent game he refused to stand up for the national anthem.

Kaepernick justified his sitting position by saying: “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.”

In other words: Black Lives Matter.

Kaepernick is perfectly entitled to his opinion. He is also perfectly entitled not to be upstanding for the anthem. By the same token, other people are perfectly entitled to think him a jackass and another rich and successful poseur.

After all, Kaepernick lives in a country that oppresses black people so much that a teenage mother, whose black father did I runner when she was still pregnant, can give out her baby for adoption, and a (clearly racist) white couple can bring him up, give him love, support and education that allowed him to become a star athlete, whose latest 6-year contract is worth $126 million. Maybe I’m being unkind to Kaepernick but does he actually in any tangible way help the oppressed, or is sitting down the extent of his struggle?

Sure, there is racism in the United States – as there is everywhere else around the world – some whites hate blacks, some blacks hate whites, some other people hate somebody else, no doubt. And sure, a lot of things happen in the shade of the American flag, some good and some bad. But the American flag is one that represents a system of government where Colin Kaepernick can choose to stand or sit during the national anthem, a society where he is adored by many (of all races, creeds and colours) for his excellence on the sporting field, and an economy where he is getting paid obscene amounts of money to throw a ball around a grassy field. Maybe, just maybe, some perspective is needed. And just because you sit on your ass it doesn’t make you a Rosa Parks.

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