When Mr. Colin Kaepernick, the bi-racial San Francisco 49er who has dominated the national news cycle for nearly a week due to him sitting down during the national anthem, provided reasoning for his protest, it was, in sentiment, equal to the frustration voiced often by Republican presidential nominee Mr. Donald Trump: America is neither as great as it could be nor as exceptional as it thinks it is.
Mr. Kaepernick, who’s nowhere close to being as outspoken in questioning America’s greatness as Mr. Trump, nonetheless rebuked the country for what he perceives is its horrid treatment of black and brown people; specifically, the way police officers mishandle black and brown bodies and, instead of being punished for it, receive “paid leave.”
The push-back against Mr. Kaepernick’s protest was swift and vociferous; many critics, including Mr. Trump, suggested the quarterback find another country to reside in, while at least one football player implied that Mr. Kaepernick isn’t black enough to retain such a defiant tone on the issue of race and policing. To be clear, though Mr. Kapernick’s reason for America’s deficiency differs from Mr. Trump, both men offer the argument that America, at the moment, isn’t great.
Yet, while Mr. Trump is regularly condemned for what’s perceived as hate speech and ignorance of American law and government protocol, he’s rarely told by his dissenters to find another country to reside in since he believes America doesn’t win anymore and is ran by stupid and corrupt leaders. More often that not, Mr. Trump’s vocal dissatisfaction with America is framed as the result of love of country while Mr. Kaepernick’s objection paints him as ungrateful of the freedom he enjoys. More broadly, the criticism of Mr. Kaepernick appears to frame the act of criticizing America as a white privilege: Black and brown people, if unhappy with circumstances, should go back to Africa while Whites, who also aren’t natives of this country, can stay put and exercise their right to free speech and assembling.
But, as expected with an issue like this one, disagreement on privilege and practice abounds. Some people view Mr. Kaepernick as acting in the tradition of Muhammad Ali while others see him as an anti-police, Black Lives Matter sympathizer. Then there are those observers who see Mr. Kapernick’s protest as simply an American right exercised, while others perceive it as disrespecting the country’s armed forces.
Though Mr. Kaepernick isn’t finding a wealth of support among his professional peers, former Eagles quarterback Mr. Ron Jaworski, currently an ESPN analyst, today in Philadelphia’s City Hall voiced support for him.
“This is America… Colin Kaepernick can protest anyway he likes to. There is a freedom of speech and he exercised that freedom of speech. I have absolutely no problem with what he’s done,” Mr. Jaworski, who this morning spoke at a press conference announcing the 2017 NFL Draft will take place in Philadelphia, told Techbook Online in an exclusive interview.
However, Mr. Howard Eskin, a Fox 29 sports anchor and WIP-FM radio personality, did have a problem with Mr. Kaepernick’s protest and he feels that a more respected black quarterback should have made a political statement, but one that doesn’t disrespect the soldiers or police.
“The message he tried to send was good… the way he sent it was bad… and he was the wrong guy,” Mr. Eskin, who claims Mr. Kaepernick was never a leader and sat down during the anthem to garner attention, said to Techbook Online.
While Mr. Eskin will concede that “things aren’t good right now in this country,” he suggests America couldn’t function without law enforcement officers. And, regarding the double-standard – Mr. Kaepernick’s comments and criticism juxtaposed with Mr. Trump’s rants and push-back – Mr. Eskin said such a thing doesn’t exist, particularly because Mr. Trump, who lacks a concise vision, shouldn’t ever be used as a standard.
Mr. Eskin, who isn’t a fan of Mrs. Hillary Clinton, may be correct that Mr. Trump isn’t a standard-bearer in any fashion, but I have to disagree with him that a double-standard, when criticizing America, doesn’t exists between races; one surely does, because a double-standard between races is present in almost every facet of American life, for an example one needn’t look further than the arrest rates for possessing marijuana in this country: black and whites smoke and buy marijuana at virtually equal rates, but Blacks are four times more likely to be arrested for holding the plant – such a double-standard is what Mr. Kaepernick is referring to when he uses the word “oppressed.”
I will, however, agree with Mr. Eskin on one thing: the why of Mr. Kaepernick’s protest is getting drowned out by the how. Mr. Kaepernick’s message is, indeed, relevant and true, so if we are to discuss him, we should focus what called him to rebel and not the act of rebellion itself.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photos courtesy of the author.