I would like to start this article by disclosing that I am very biased on this subject, that I believe that people and companies should be held accountable for any act of racism, misogyny, bigotry, and any other act of hatred towards any human being based on their religion and sexual orientation.
On August 26th, 2016 during the playing of the American anthem before an NFL football game, Colin Kaepernick was the only player kneeling. Of course, this act garnered national attention. After the game, surrounded by members of the media he stated :
I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.
He continued standing on his ground by saying:
This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what’s right.
This statement was simple and straight to the point. Yet, it became a divisive and polarizing topic that made Colin public enemy number one. And targeted by other athletes. By police officers. By army officers. And any other politician that wanted to be at the top of the headlines that day.
Some players decided to follow Colin in his actions while others publicly reiterated that they won’t take a knee (which they have the right to) for multiple reasons most of them surrounding around the fact that they won’t disrespect the flag and the people that have died protecting it. Nobody saw this protest garnering this much attention, it bled over to other sports (Meagan Rapinoe, a US women soccer player, Bruce Maxwell, a baseball player for the Oakland Athletics and the German team Hertha Berlin), to politics (President Obama had to comment on the subject with a very political answer I will say) to Hollywood (Micheal Rapaport and Kathy Griffin). However, the NFL, the team owners (who some supported Trump during and after the election) and all the the NFL’s sponsors all remained mum on the subject.
Days went by, weeks went by, and even months went by, the protest kept moving forward while remaining stagnant. No new laws were being passed, no new reforms were being adopted and America became more divisive with a black president still leading the country. And worse, we saw the protest being hijacked. The topics was about everything but the first statement made by Kaepernick. It became about the American flag and what it represents. Does the flag represent the same thing to everyone? Does it represent the country? The Army? Or the people who have died protecting it? Are we more patriotic than human? Needless to say we have lost what Colin was kneeling about.
On March 3rd 2017, after weeks of speculations, Colin and his team the San Francisco 49ers have parted way. And since then, regardless of its talent, no team has contacted a player that once lead his team to the Super Bowl. Many believe that he has been black balled and has the NFL colluding against him.
On September 2017, Donald Trump during a speech called every player that kneeled a son of a bitch (how classy for a president I know) and called for them to be fired by the NFL team owners. This statement, of course, like every absurd statement that comes out of Trump and its camp, was either applauded by its followers or booed by every sane person in America. That Sunday, during every NFL game, there was some type of protest. Players kneeling, players staying in the locker room or interlocking arms to shows their solidarity and togetherness. Over 90% of these players were angry about the comments made by the man holding the seat of the president of the United States of America, yet, few of them were offended or cared to comment on the death of unarmed black and brown men and women at the hands of the police.
I lived in America for about 8 years, throughout these years I saw acts of racism, countless bodies that were on the news of people that looked like me, the same skin color, the same hair and the same features and all were dead for what seems like senseless act of violence. When the subject of unarmed black men and women killed at the hands of the police is brought up, people that are uncomfortable redirect the core of the subject. Because we stand for equality, because we ask America to hold on to her end of the deal by saying who she claimed to be in the Declaration of Independence, doesn’t mean that we are anti police and unpatriotic. Colin Keapernick sacrificed his job to speak up for the voiceless. But unfortunately, today, his sacrifice seems to be in vein, because the protest was hijacked.
Earlier this year, there was a white power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Upon hearing this a group of anti hate, left wingers, and civil right activists decided to protest the rally. That day a young women lost her life. And her last post on Facebook was this quote
If you are not outrage you are not paying attention