Why I Don’t Agree with Colin Kaepernick, but Support that You Do
Why I Support Kaep, but Probably Not Your Opinion of His Protest
Last week 49’ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines in choosing to sit down rather than stand for the national anthem. The story has dominated the recent news cycle and social media with strong opinions on all sides. It is an issue that hits on the nature and message of a protest, custom vs regulation, and even the latent racism that remains in the fabric of our national songs and documents. To me as a sociologist, all that discussion makes the protest positive and productive, especially given its peaceful nature. But from the beginning I’ve been in disagreement with Kaep and many of his supporters for a few specific reasons. Before I explain why though, a few quick statement of my principals:
I DON’T believe he should be fired, benched, or otherwise punished for taking this or any political stand.
I DO believe it’s right and fair for anyone who disagrees with his stance to express their disagreement, anger, and/or offense, and note that that offense is not necessarily derived from a support for the racist structures against which he’s protesting.
I DO think it’s ridiculous that folks inside the NFL (owners, et al) are denouncing Kaepernick so strongly when they regularly, warmly welcome back domestic abusers and other criminals.
I DO believe he should probably be cut because he’s bad at football. (Inexplicably, really. I mean, he once looked to be the face of the franchise for the next decade… but I digress…)
I DON’T agree with and, in fact, can’t stand the plethora of memes saying something to the effect of “Cops kill people every day no one bats an eye, one quarterback sits down and everyone loses their minds”. People all over our country HAVE been talking about, paying attention to, protesting, and debating the scourge of police brutality. Whether any meaningful change has yet been made is subject to debate (spoiler: it hasn’t), but claiming that no one gives a shit would be pretty hard to factually substantiate. Also, he’s a celebrity in one of the most popular forms of entertainment in our nation and we’re Americans – we’re going to over-talk the actions of our celebrities.
This is not to say that racial inequality is an issue of the past and that Kaepernick’s protest is ill-founded. It is also not to say that because he is a multi-millionaire athlete he has no ground to speak on oppression. I actually believe there are far too few Kaeps out there willing to use their elevated platform to speak on important issues.
No, I have two contentions with Kaep’s protest and the first is this:
Disrespect, peaceful protest, or both?… READ ON…