You’ve all heard by now that NFL player Colin Kaepernick recently refused to stand up during the playing of the national anthem before a football game. He explained his “reasons” as follows:
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.
His team, the San Francisco 49ers, were unwilling to confront or discipline the person with whom they just signed a 6-year, 114 million dollar contract. They did nothing except issue one of those generic, meaningless strings of verbiage that institutions use when they want to cover their asses:
The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.
So the 49ers tried to make this issue some sort of political one. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for his country’s national anthem is cast as a form of protest.
I don’t see it that way. I think that’s bullshit. This is nothing but arrogance and immaturity masquerading as “protest.”
Let’s leave aside for a moment Kaepernick’s (false) assertion that the US is systematically oppressing people of color. It is a lie, but let us leave it aside for the moment.
This is a guy who is a multi-millionaire many times over, a man who sits at the very top of the economic pyramid. Is he talented at his job? Sure. But there are many athletes all over the world who don’t earn a tiny fraction of what he earns. He got what he got because he’s a US citizen.
And to disrespect one’s country this way is nothing but shocking ingratitude. It shows bad character. It shows a man who has no respect for his fellows. If I were his boss, I would fire him immediately. No team needs such people. They are poison, and their self-centered, egoistic poison has a way of infecting others.
All he’s trying to do is justify his egoism and his arrogance. I’m not buying it.
And the fact that no institution will call him out on it says volumes also. His own team was too chickenshit to speak the truth. What they should have said was this:
We are deeply disappointed that Mr. Kaepernick demonstrated such a fundamental lack of respect for his obligations as a citizen. We find it to be a revealing incident.
We will not be continuing our contractual relationship with Mr. Kaepernick, and wish him the best of luck in his political activist career.
Even President Obama tried to massage away Kaepernick’s inexucusable conduct. He suggested that it could be some sort of form of protest.
To me, the issue here is one of respect. It’s not complicated. It all comes down to common human decency.
It’s like if someone invited you over to their house for dinner and you pissed in the punchbowl. How do you think people would react?
How can we expect young people to show any basic respect for their country, when people like this have such obvious contempt for it?
When you have the chance to earn untold riches, you’re expected to show some fucking respect for the country that made it possible for you and your family to prosper. You’re expected to be a team player, and stand with your teammates. You want to be a social activist? Fine. Do that shit on your own time.
You’re expected to display some class, some dignity, and some common human decency. It’s got nothing to do with politics, with issues, or with anything like that. Don’t justify Kaepernick’s actions by pointing to some political bullshit. The black activism bullshit is just a pretext to justify his arrogance and egoism.
Because black people are not being institutionally oppressed in the United States in 2016. That’s bullshit, pure and simple.
This issue is a simple one: it’s all about respect, and common courtesy for others.
Kaepernick is not a man of good character. He’s an arrogant egoist. He thinks the rules that everyone else has to play by are not the same rules he has to play by.
He’s not a team player. He should be fired immediately. But no one has the guts to do something like this in 2016. It’s revealing of the times we live in.
Old-school class acts like Jackie Robinson, Bill Russell, and many others would never have dreamed of doing anything like this. And those guys sure as hell suffered a lot more than Colin Kaepernick’s spoiled candy ass. Russell and Robinson lived through actual discrimination, not the fantasy oppression in Kaepernick’s mind. Those guys knew what oppression and discrimination really was.
The 49ers should get rid of him now, and not ignore a warning sign like this. A good man doesn’t do this sort of thing.
His actions show him to be an unstable, arrogant, directionless ingrate.
Don’t be an arrogant egoist like Colin Kaepernick. Learn about how to be a solid, strong, honorable man by reading On Duties: