Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Colin Kaepernick's Misguided Gesture

This article first appeared in Eagle Rising.

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Last week, San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick made it a point to remain seated during the pre-game playing of the National Anthem. Afterward, he said that he would not stand to honor a country that has so badly treated black people and other people of color. (I am paraphrasing.)

Kapernick, like our president, is bi-racial (white/black) and was raised by his adoptive parents, who are white. He has obviously bought into the Black Lives Matter narrative about black men being shot down in the street like dogs by white police (who enjoy "paid leave").

Just as I recently wrote when a Muslim American Olympian girl criticized her country for being "Islamophobic", I find it hard to compare Kapernick to previous athletes like Mohammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who made their statements in an earlier era, when racial reforms were badly needed in America (1960s). Kaepernick was not even born during that era. He is fortunate to have been born (1987) in an America that had already confronted its past, legislated equal rights, and twice elected a biracial man to be our president.

Not that everything in black America is perfect. There are many in our inner cities who have not reaped the benefits of the Civil Rights era. Black neighborhoods are still plagued by drugs, crime, gangs, murders and single-parent households. Black-on black murders are sky-rocketing, but Black Lives Matters is only concerned when a black man is shot by a white cop. Most of those shootings-with rare exceptions, actually- are found to be justified. We have a justice system both at the state and federal level to deal with those which are not.

In addition, it stands to reason that cops patrolling black precincts will come into contact disproportionately with black offenders. Given the dangerous nature of neighborhoods in cities like (South) Chicago, Detroit, (South Central) Los Angeles, Oakland, Baltimore etc. gun incidents should not be surprising. Yet, recent studies have shown that more whites have been shot by cops than blacks in recent years. With rare exceptions,  cops are getting a bad rap. Add that to the dramatic spike in cops being assassinated, and Kaepernick's comments become even more absurd.

Kaepernick, of course, has the right to express his views about his country, just as I have the right to react. What this will portend in terms of his acceptance by fans around the NFL we will have to wait and see. I doubt it will be very positive. I doubt very much, in addition, that he will play his way out of the controversy. After all, he isn't all that good to begin with.

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