The 2016 National Football League season was one that had so many tremendous story lines. From Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott giving hope to Cowboys fans, to Tom Brady forever ending the argument of “Greatest NFL Quarterback Ever” (seriously, just accept it already), and countless others; there was no shortage of moments to look back fondly on and realize just how great the game truly is.
The Kaepernick Story
At the start of the season, an uproar came from out west where a soon-to-be-benched quarterback took a stand by taking a knee. By now you all know the soap opera that was San Francisco 49er’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refusing to stand during the National Anthem. This action was in silent protest of the “social injustice” faced by many in this country. It was as controversial a position as it was polarizing, but I ultimately understood it. While I didn’t agree with how he went about it, I supported the cause because, well, I believe he is right.
But now he’s doing something that I just can’t support. A couple weeks ago, “Kap” said he would end his protest and stand for the National Anthem starting next season. The catch in all of this is this; he may not even be playing this coming fall. The sixth-year signal caller is a free agent. The only way he will be standing on an NFL sideline come August is if another team decides to hire him. If not, he’ll spend his Sundays, like the rest of us, watching the game on TV where they don’t air the anthem.
Now, do I think that Colin can’t handle the criticism and threats he received during last season? Not at all. Do I think that he has given up his protest because he doesn’t see anything actually changing for the better? Not entirely. Do I think Colin is “selling out” in hopes that another team will be willing to sign a guy who has had one winning season in his career? A little…and that’s what bothers me.
As the son of an Army Colonel, brother to two other Active Duty soldiers, and friend to countless others; the Star-Spangled Banner holds a special meaning in my heart. But so does the Constitution my loved ones have sworn to protect. Especially that part that says “right to protest peacefully”. Although method bothered me, I respected Kaepernick’s right to do it, and I also respected him continuing to do it despite all the hell he caught from so many. What I don’t respect is someone “giving up” or stopping their fight, especially when they have the platform Colin Kaepernick does.
Let me put it to you this way: Did something magically happen overnight that erased all “social injustice” in the country, that wasn’t covered by any media organization anywhere? Was a study released that said all “prejudice” and “hate crimes” ceased to exist and I missed it? Other than being unemployed, no discernible change has come into Colin’s life to make him take this new stand.
The true measure of a man is his ability to stand up for others and help those who can’t help themselves; no matter the hardships they themselves endure. Colin has done that… until now. Whether it be through his protest or his charitable work with “Know Your Rights”, he has been a true man. But will the same attention be paid to his ‘cause’ if the spotlight isn’t on him anymore? And if not, it’ll be too easy to blame the man that Kaepernick once was.