colin kaepernick

Athletes Have the Right to #TakeAKnee in Protest of Politics

colin kaepernick

This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.

It makes me a little bit mad when people say that athletes should “stick to sports”.  Mostly because I think anyone can have an opinion or stand for something, and it doesn’t have to be related to their career. Jason Gay, from the Wall Street Journal, makes the comment that if you think that athletes should “stick to sports”, you’re going to be disappointed. But why disappointed? When I say “stick to sports”, I’m specifically talking about athletes who are getting involved in political issues.  But people think that they should stick to what they know.  This whole idea is coming up because of NFL players, like Colin Kaepernick who have knelt during the national anthem as a way to protest police brutality and the oppression of African-Americans.

This whole idea is coming up because of NFL players, like Colin Kaepernick who have knelt during the national anthem as a way to protest police brutality and the oppression of African-Americans. What I’m hearing, however, is that athletes shouldn’t be able to protest anything.  And more specifically, protest the oppression of African Americans and police brutality against this same group.  And what makes Kaepernick so under qualified to be able to protest? Especially about this topic. I understand that people aren’t tuning in to an NFL game to get your opinion on politics, but taking a knee shouldn’t have this big of an impact on the game.  And yet it does.

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So let’s unpack that for a moment.  Taking a knee is causing such a big uproar that it’s upsetting people who are just tuning in to watch a simple game.  Why?  Because the world is upside down.  We are living in a horrible place, politically right now.  I mean horrible.  Rights are being taken away from people, left and right.  They’re being taken away from people who have done absolutely nothing wrong.  Now what you’re seeing is a group of people feeling like the protestors are impeding on them somehow.  In this case, it’s an inconvenience, and I have no sympathy for that.  These people shouldn’t be so upset about NFL players taking a knee in protest, they should be upset over the fact that they have to protest.  Because if they don’t, who will? It’s also a topic that should be protested.  So, no, you don’t get to say that NFL players should “stick to sports”.  What you should be saying is – what can I do to help stop this?

Further to that, if it has so little impact on your life, then why do you care?  Again, if it’s nothing more than an inconvenience, why get upset?  These players are putting their careers on the line in order to let the world know that police brutality and African American oppression isn’t ok.  It’s 2017, after all.  This shouldn’t be happening.  But like I said, it’s our reality right now so good for Kaepernick for voicing his concern.

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Another thing I would like to point out is the hypocrisy of telling an athlete to “stick to sports”.  I mean, this is irony at its best, don’t you think?  What makes a celebrity, for example, any better at politics than an athlete.  Stay with me for a minute as this is a difficult one for some to grasp.  Who, do we know, who has recently become a politician who never had any previous experience in that field?   Arnold Schwarzenegger?  Sure, but he isn’t single-handedly running the free world into the ground.  Al Franken, maybe?  Nope, not him.  Oh right – Donald Trump.  What qualifications does he have?  Maybe just as many as Kaepernick when it comes to political ideologies.  And yet, we berate Kaepernick for inconveniencing us with his political ideologies because we can’t watch a game without thinking about an African American who was brutally shot by a police officer for no particular reason, other than, maybe the color of his skin?

The last thing I would like to address about this is how people are now being ordered to stand during the national anthem.  That’s right – Roger Goodell wrote a memo to all 32 teams stating that “everyone should stand” and that the NFL will present a plan to help “move past this controversy”.  Excuse me?  Controversy?  Is the controversy the fact that people are protesting human rights?  Goodell goes on to say that many of the fans (as well as Goodell) believe that they should stand during the national anthem.  Words do not even express how angry this makes me.  How can you force someone to do something against their will?  Against something, they believe in?

Further to that, Jerry Jones (pictured above) who is seen kneeling only did that as a stunt.  He knelt with the team, and then quickly stood when the national anthem started playing.  And now he wants to bench any player who “disrespects the flag”.  This is what is wrong with America.  I’m sorry if this upsets you, or makes you mad, but people aren’t getting the point.  Racism still exists.  Telling people to stand for the national anthem doesn’t make that go away.  I think what Goodell and Jones don’t realize is that they might have a revolt on their hands.  Even if some of their players don’t believe in the cause, or don’t want to get involved, they may in solidarity of their teammates.  All they’re doing is making the situation worse.

I’m sorry to go on such a diatribe here, but come on.  This doesn’t make sense to me.  It’s incredibly selfish.  I’m happy to hear that the people who aren’t in support of the #TakeAKnee campaign have so few problems in their lives.  It honestly makes me happy.  But not everyone is that lucky.  And in some cases, they’re unlucky simply because of the color of their skin.  Not because they’ve done anything wrong.  So the next time you want to talk about how athletes should “stick to sports”, you might want to think about the actual cause they’re standing up for.  Or in this case, taking a knee.  Think beyond your four walls and consider that the rest of the world might not have it so good.