11.27.17: Nation – (Opinion/Politics): 2017 exceeded my expectations. With the year being the debut of Mr. Donald J. Trump in the role of U.S. President, I anticipated news cycles inundated with scandal, spin and silliness. But what I heard and saw this year on broadcast after broadcast, many of which portrayed Mr. Trump as unhinged, left me dazed from its surreal nature.
The most petty and ridiculous man I’ve ever seen, Mr. Trump surely is something to marvel at. He’s relatively shameless; habitually hyperbolic in his speech to the point of absurdity; lies with a seemingly innate quality; and did I mention he’s super-fucking petty?
Among Mr. Trump’s most sustained grievances of 2017 – none of which a voter would expect a sitting President to be concerned with – is Mr. Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.
As early in the year as March, Mr. Trump has criticized Mr. Kaepernick for his protest, while inflating his influence as the reasoning why NFL owners have apparently blacklisted the unemployed quarterback.
“NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” the President said at a March rally in Louisville.
Amazingly, Mr. Kaepernick, a professional football player, in 2017 earned much media despite never hitting the field. It’s hard to think of another non-retired quarterback who from outside the arena impacted so much of what took place on the sidelines, and what was said in the analyst booths.
And when you consider that Mr. Kaepernick not only ignored the president’s many provocations – for example, when Mr. Trump called the football star “a son of a bitch” – but also didn’t whine publicly about being jobless, he appears both noble and tough.
Directly and indirectly, Mr. Kaepernick in 2017 was Mr. Trump’s greatest foe, even more so it seemed than Mr. Robert Muller, the special prosecutor investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Some journalists and political pundits framed Mr. Trump’s obsession with the NFL as a culture war: on one side were the righteous patriots, and on the other side were the spoiled athletes and their enablers.
In the end, the president’s side wasn’t victorious, as the NFL in October decided it wouldn’t force players to stand for the national anthem. Also in October, the NFL endorsed a criminal justice reform bill. And although the bill isn’t germane to the specific issue Mr. Kaepernick raised with his protest (police killing blacks with impunity), it’s certainly germane to the larger issue of fairness within the criminal justice system.
Mr. Kaepernick began a movement. He has inspired people to not only rally in the streets of New York City on his behalf, but also to boycott the league. And at the same time, his initial action ballooned so much so that it forced the evolution of the NFL from apolitical to at least bipartisan, and ignited a sense of social responsibility within many professional football players.
One young man went forth with a solo protest and it inspired millions, amplified a conversation on race and policing, and on patriotism and free speech; and got under the skin of maybe the most annoying politician to ever live.
For those aforementioned accomplishments, and because it will be the ultimate fuck you to Mr. Trump, Mr. Kaepernick deserves to be TIME’s Person of the Year!
Thanks for reading! Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® and I’m Drumming for Justice!™
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