I want to talk about Colin Kaepernick and his stand (or sit) against the national anthem ceremony that precedes NFL games. I want to talk about it all day long until I get the message correct, because it’s a complicated topic with about a hundred moving parts and the message can get away from you when you start debating what the song and the flag is supposed to stand for.
I tried my best, earlier this week, when I was joined by John Browner in a discussion about why the both of us think Kaepernick is doing the right thing. You can check out that podcast here:
We Stand with Kaepernick https://t.co/JdJnZm507r #GenerallySpeaking— John Gennaro (@johnmgennaro) August 29, 2016
Later in the week, the story kept unraveling. Kaepernick was being attacked publicly by media, players, members of the military....to the point that military members that agreed with his peaceful message decided to speak out under the hashtag of #VeteransForKaepernick.
Again, I tried my best to pick up the conversation, but I’m not entirely sure I hit on my main point. Give that podcast a listen here, if you so choose:
Colin Kaepernick is America https://t.co/e2ZKwIzFes #GenerallySpeaking— John Gennaro (@johnmgennaro) August 31, 2016
Here’s my point as cleanly and as concisely as I can attempt to make it, although I’ll admit before I even begin to type it out that I’ll probably do a poor job of encompassing the entire scenario:
The national anthem before sporting events is a ceremony. It’s a tradition. That’s all it is. The flag is a piece of cloth and the anthem is a song. Does it represent more than that? For some people, yes. For Colin Kaepernick, definitely. For him, it represents the fact that while we may be free, we are not equal.
Colin Kaepernick is the American dream. As a bi-racial child to an adopted white household, he undoubtedly went through tireless scrutiny and ridicule during his most important developmental years. Instead of fighting back through violence, he channeled his efforts into become a two-sport athlete and eventually the starting NFL Quarterback of an NFC Championship team.
If I were to adopt a bi-racial child to be my son, I would hold Colin Kaepernick up as an example for him to follow. I’d let him dream about playing in the Super Bowl one day, the result of channeling his frustrations with a not-very-accepting society into something productive. I would encourage him to embrace his culture, even if it is one that I can not embrace in the same way.
Colin Kaepernick found a way to protest peacefully. Colin Kaepernick found a way to give a loud voice to a cause that is too often ignored because of who is speaking up and the volume that they generate when they speak.
While this is by no means a 100% endorsement for everything Kaepernick has ever done or said in his life (I’m not a huge fan of his police-pig socks today), or will do and say, the reaction by the majority of people in this country to someone that is embracing his freedom, embracing his celebrity, and trying to use it to do something he feels is good and right for his community has been disappointing to me.
That is why, instead of booing today when Kaepernick sits down for the national anthem at Qualcomm Stadium, I’ll stand up to honor the country and the freedoms it provides for him to do so. I’ll stand up to honor somebody that is trying to improve the world around him in a peaceful manner.
Thanks for reading, and if you listened to either of the above podcasts, thank you. Please consider subscribing!
Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play