NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem last Friday.
In a nation that prides itself on freedom, liberty and the First Amendment, you would have thought that he had just punched his mom while she ate apple pie and her pet eagle soared above.
He also dared to take our collective attention away from the Kardashians for a day. The nerve.
Kaepernick said he sat out the anthem to start a discussion about race.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick. “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.”
The struggling 49ers QB has been, for weeks, retweeting media coverage of racial violence in America. When you look back at the headlines this past year, he has a point and it is certainly his right to make it.
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” said Kaepernick. “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 is right.”
The NFL defended Kaepernick saying, “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”
Many fans — and people who don’t follow sports — disagreed with Kaepernick’s decision. Especially considering the flag represents, to many Americans, the blood and sacrifice of so many who have fought to defend his right to protest.
In the end, fans have a right to disagree, sponsors have a right to reconsider contracts, and his bosses have the right to remove him from the team. Kaepernick knows the risk, and seems willing to take it.
Typically that would be the end of the story.
But in today’s social media world, Kaepernick can show us these responses on Twitter and do a mic drop, because they have proven his point:
Get out of the country then you stupid fucking nigger @Kaepernick7 you should be embarrassed to admit you won’t stand for national anthem
— Josh Nicholson (@JoshNicholson16) August 27, 2016
.@Kaepernick7 you are one disgraceful piece of shit nigger no wonder your real parents didn’t want your dumb ass
— Fletch (@YeahHeSaidIt420) August 27, 2016
Maybe @Kaepernick7 should go back to Africa to play football since he hates America so much. Probably doesn’t pay quite as well
— PRock (@akaPRock) August 27, 2016
— Barry 0bama (@Barry0hBama) August 27, 2016
.@Kaepernick7 nigger you are white.
— hibbidy dibbidy doo (@Hiph0pan0tamus) August 27, 2016
These are but a few of the examples of the racial ugliness that Kaepernick is attempting to point out.
Here’s the reality: Our great nation calls itself free, but still has a great deal of unimpeded racial inequality.
If Kaepernick’s constitutionally protected decision to forego standing for the national anthem can put a mirror to the face of America in order to address some deeper issues, maybe he’s doing us all a favor.
This is still the home of the brave.