Colin, Colin, Colin.
I would like to start off by clarifying that yes, I have always been a fan of Colin Kaepernick. The way he has always played without conviction and with sheer praise for the Lord has always been an admirable quality to me. I am a huge social media (mainly Instagram) person and I have followed him via IG for quite a while now. I have posted about my love for Kaep and even made a cartoon about him my cover photo on Facebook a few years ago (yes, in the social media world…that’s a huge declaration of love apparently). He has always shown through social lenses that he is a huge believer in family, friends, faith, fashion …oh, and Tupac. If you flip through Kaep’s IG, you will see glimpse of his love for Tupac and what he stood for. With everyone up in arms over Kaepernick’s “sudden” stand…or should I say, SIT against the national anthem and flag, maybe we should take a step back and see just how NOT shocked we should be about his protest.
On a post on IG back in 2013, Colin shared a picture of Shakur with the quote, “I have no patience for anybody that doubts me. None at all.” Shakur is also often remembered by his commitment to preach about “THUG LIFE” which many people assume stands for some sort of gang tie in to life on the streets. In actuality, the tattoo was his way of speaking up about a nation in neglect of its youngest parts/people in our communities. To him THUG LIFE was an acronym for “The Hate You Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone.” (sorry for the language, but I didn’t create the acronym!) Although random images of Shakur have appeared on Kaepernick’s account in the past, there does seem to be a distinct change starting in October of 2015 when he posted a black history photo about the Black Panthers. After that, he seemed to gain confidence in expressing that side of his beliefs because his social account is literally littered with material and information about oppression and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
SO should anybody honestly be surprised at the recent stunt of sitting down during the National Anthem? No, not really. This has been something that had the foundation laid and has been building up for a while now. I honestly looked at the news and said “well that sucks but I am not surprised.” To clarify, although I was not shocked, does not mean I agree with it. In fact….I hate it. I hate it because of the way he went about his message when there were so many other ways to protest. I also wanted to see more action from him for his cause at that time instead of back-ending all his support. Sitting during the National Anthem before explaining definitely caused a stir and made the focus shift to him being “unpatriotic and un-American” instead of on the issues that he was attempting to draw attention to. I so badly wanted to write an article putting him on blast for taking advantage of freedom of speech right when this all happened, but I decided to wait. You see, as I have gotten older, I have learned to not irrationally and emotionally lash out in anger (well, most of the time anyways), but instead I have adapted to sitting back and absorbing what is going on around me. I like to ask myself if I really want to say certain things…and if I do, what is the way they should be delivered. So I waited to respond to the ”Kaep-Gate” at hand so that I could give an unbiased and rational opinion. In waiting, this also gave Kaepernick time to do what I thought he would do all along, amend his protest.
Although he had the general basis for the right intentions during his first National Anthem protest, there were more appropriate ways to go about this all. In his second game of protest, Kaepernick took the time, along with teammate Eric Reid, to meet with a former Green Beret to discuss the right to protest during the National Anthem. Both athletes were fully open to listening to options that might better suit the protest. One solution was kneeling instead of sitting, which shows loyalty to our military and is a sign of respect while still letting their cause ring true to the public. I can respect that, and so can a lot of Americans who understand the actual reason for the protest. There was no malicious intent being imposed or ill-will, it was just a voice to a cause.
I am in no way fully justifying the way that Kaepernick decided to protest; however, would there have been so much attention on him just kneeling during his first protest as opposed to sitting? Probably not. There would have been questions about the kneeling and the protest aspect would have eventually come out, but the effect would have been lost. We must remember that nobody is perfect and protesters and activists do not always start a cause the right or correct way. More often than not, the first step is actually the hardest for them and they may falter in their delivery, but by them taking that first imperfect step, is what makes them legendary and great. I believe that Kaerpernick did falter in his initial protest because it did show a lack of respect and care for his country; however, he was an adult about the situation and regrouped after feedback and is now raising awareness for his cause. Many other athletes have joined him and I am highly sure this will not be the end of it. I am at least happy with the way Kaepernick has come out with a plan to be more active in the community and will put his money where his mouth is by donating the proceeds from his jersey sales (which recently skyrocketed from #20 to #1 in the country) and the first million (yes…that’s right, first MILLION of his privileged salary) back to the community in a TBA unspecified way, BUT that is not enough.
What do I really want from Colin? I would like to see is him doing better to be an active pioneer and help mend the relations with African American communities and Police Officers. Not all cops are bad, just as not all humans are bad. We also are not all good. Raise the awareness. Mend the fence. Break the barrier. And build the bridge. Do NOT sit idly by when you CAN play that role in your current surroundings. He won’t be able to change every community across the US but if he starts local then others will follow suit. We raise awareness by standing up to cancer and stand up to bullying, so why does this need to be any different?
My final verdict on Colin Kaepernick can be seen in my open Youtube letter to him or in print on my next blog. Follow me so that you don’t miss it! You can sign up for all blog post on the main page of my blog.
A Blogger Who Will Always Stand For Her Country