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Welcome to the latest PIC POV, this is the conclusion to our mini series on Colin Kaepernick and the National Anthem. You can read part one by clicking here.
PIC POV Kaepernick & the National Anthem part 2 – Chris Fields
Hopefully, if you are reading this, you have already heard about the Colin Kaepernick situation in American football and now our national conversation.
Let me be clear, I am a Bears fan, so I don’t really care what anyone on the 49ers or any other team in NFL does – not my problem. I should also disclose that when Kaepernick became famous 3 years ago and played in the Super Bowl, I was not a fan because I felt Alex Smith got shafted. If you don’t know about that, google it.
When Colin decided to take a stand on police brutality by sitting during the national anthem, I thought, ok who cares? You were injured that last 2 years and may not even start this season. I also felt like the great Shaquille O’Neal, who said, “Why now? Why not last year or the year before?” Police brutality is nothing new and unfortunately will likely continue.
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Now, while I was busy not giving a damn about this situation, a funny thing happened. More and more NFL players began to side with Kaepernick and they either sat or kneeled during the anthem. You would think the fans would be outraged, and some were/are however, many more are not. Kaepernick is as popular as ever (more even).
In fact, his number 7 jersey is one of the top selling jerseys in the league. Fans flock to him to take selfies, sign shirts, hats and those jerseys. Also, players from other sports industries, who have never met Kaep, are supporting him by staging their own National Anthem protests. AND, it has been reported that more and more young high school and college athletes are now sitting or kneeling during the anthem. Mostly young black men.
Listen-up, as a black man, I understand and hopefully you can understand this too. We black dudes are more likely to get pulled over, searched, ticketed, jailed and longer sentences for the same shit as any other race and gender (period). Those are facts. Young black men in the hood, inner city, ghetto or urban community (whatever you want to call it) see crocked cops all the time, black and white ones. These athletes play on Friday night, Saturday afternoons or Sundays and go home to racism and or poverty – they see it before it goes viral on social media.
The San Francisco 49ers, the organization that Keap plays for, has donated over $100,000 to community awareness and law enforcement relations. The owner of the 49ers has personally donated $1,000,000 to various causes. The Green Bay Packers have donated money to their community as a result of these protests. Kaepernick himself has pledged a million dollars of his salary and all proceeds from his jersey sells to the community as well.
Comparisons have been to Colin Kaepernick and Muhammed Ali, who famously, historically, refused to fight in the Vietnam War. At the time, he was considered a traitor, communist, and of course racist. But eventually, he became an International hero, American legend and civil rights icon.
I’m no Kaepernick fan and I still question his motives – I prefer to do things like New York Knicks, basketball star player, Carmelo Anthony. Melo as he is known, knows all about police brutality. But this year, he and Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James opened the Espys with a speech on black lives matter and how athletes have to step up to help end police brutality and law inequity which led to a $2,000,000 donation from Michael Jordan. Melo also went over to RIO and won Olympic gold and during the anthem, he and all the other guys stood proudly. In an interview after the gold medal game, Melo said, “Things ain’t perfect back home but we have to stick together.”
Not only has Anthony been talking, he’s been holding forums, raising funds, making donations and organizing outreach initiatives with major celebrities to bring attention to police brutality and community relations.
But we are not having a national conversation about that, are we? We are not engaging in Facebook battles about Carmelo’s actions. And no matter which side you are on, you probably haven’t joined a protest, donated a dime, or worked with police and the community to improve anything at all.
So, I have to say, Mr. Kaepernick deserves credit for bringing a lot of conversation and some action to the situation. Even if you don’t like or support his actions you cannot deny the results.