In case you haven’t heard about this, San Francisco 49er QB Colin Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem last night before their preseason game. Here is a video of the story ESPN ran.
NFL Network’s Steve Wyche talked to him after the game, and here the story (video from NFL Network attached to story) Steve filed with the explanation from Kaepernick. Essentially he says he did it because of how African Americans, and people of color are oppressed in America.
Let me start my comments by stating that while I completely disagree with Mr. Kaepernick’s opinion, I fully respect his right to peacefully protest in the manner he did. I think instead of this symbolic gesture before a preseason game, this young man could have made a much more impactful statement in a much more useful way. He did get attention from this, so I guess in that way he is at least gaining an audience for the cause. However, if you feel African Americans are being oppressed in America then I would think someone of Mr. Kaepernick’s wealth and status could use some of his money and influence to help start a true discussion about this instead of sitting down for less than 3 minutes during the start of a preseason to “protest” this.
Look, the fact is there is a problem, and we as a society need to come together and address it. I don’t believe that there is one party at fault. I don’t think there will be a one size fits all answer to solve this.
We need to weed out the bad actors in the police force. I believe that is already started. However, as has been proven repeatedly there are not as many bad law enforcement officers out there as some would have you believe. Most of the men and women that are sworn to protect our communities are hard working, god fearing, family loving people that just want to do their job, and get to go home at the end of their shift. We still need to make sure every effort is made to wash out the people that would abuse their powers as a law enforcement officer before they get their badge. We need to make sure that reports of abuse are properly investigated so that the people who are already in law enforcement and abuse the office are caught, prosecuted, and removed.
We also need to be honest about how people treat law enforcement these days. I know I have seen first hand people get hostile with law enforcement when an officer or deputy is just trying to do his or her job. Not every person that is stopped by law enforcement is a thug looking to do illegal things, but not every person that is approached by law enforcement behaves properly either. You have to be willing to allow law enforcement to do their job, which means be respectful when pulled over, listen and follow their commands, and above all else, do not become confrontational or hostile towards them.
Now that I have said that, I have no sympathy to those that break the law. I am no angel, don’t get me wrong, but if you are breaking the law and get caught, that is not the time to pretend you’re Butch Cassidy or The Sundance Kid, or any other famous outlaw who shot it out and got away from the law. Don’t try to outsmart the law, that’s what they have high priced lawyers and the court system for. If you’re innocent, that can be proven there. The important fact is, it is better to fight an arrest in court, than take your life in your own hands fighting on the street with law enforcement.
Kaepernick did this, he has gotten attention for it, and he will now have to face the consequences of his actions. I believe those will involve losing support from law enforcement, veterans, and he will most likely lose some if not all of his endorsement deals, if he still has any. Since he is underperforming in the preseason, this was a hollow stunt performed by a guy on his last leg on his way out the door in San Francisco.
I get the importance of the message, but the messenger used the wrong tactic, and his timing was off too.