Opinion

Colin Kaepernick….One year later

It’s been a year since Colin Kaepernick began his protest during the national anthem and the controversy of his actions as well as other football players have come with the same narratives that circumvent the reason WHY Kaepernick chose to peacefully protest in the first place.

“It is these same narratives the media, whether it is social, print or news media that has always portrayed African-Americans in a bad light and why the average human not of color is either blind by the issues and facts, or turn a deaf ear because certain issues has not or will not affect them personally,” Director of Student Diversity Programs, Krystal Matlock said.

Let’s start with why Colin Kapernick took a knee in the first place. The purpose of his protest was to bring to light the unarmed black men and women who are being killed by the police.

In 2016, Philando Castile of Minnesota was murdered as he was going toward the glove compartment of the car to retrieve his gun license after he told Officer Jeronimo Yanez he was carrying a gun. The murder was captured on his girlfriends iPhone with their young daughter in the backseat. Officer Yanez was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.

On November 22, 2014, 12- year old Tamir Rice from Cleveland, Ohio was killed by the hands of Officer Loehmann of the Cleveland Police Department when he mistook Rice’s toy gun as a real gun. Video showed that Officer Loehmann drove to the curb, less than 10 feet from Rice, and in 8 seconds, shot him without so much as a warning. Loehmann was fired due to omissions on his application. Internal investigators said he had an obligation to be forthcoming and completely truthful on his application, yet he omitted that he would have been fired from the Independence Police Department.

In these cases as well as the murders of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, John Crawford III, and Trayvon Martin, the main narrative that remain constant is: These individuals have prior records, or disobeyed the officer, or the Police Officer feared for his/her life. Whether these individuals had prior records or not, it doesn’t mean you automatically take their life.

Was this same premise used when Dylann Roof killed 9 innocent victims in South Carolina and not only was he taken alive, but was driven to Burger King because he was hungry, of course not.

The narrative also states that more whites are being killed by cops than blacks. That is true if you want to look at raw numbers, but it comes into focus when you consider African-Americans make up 12.5 percent of the American population, so if you look at the numbers per 100 citizens, African-American’s are getting killed at a much higher rate than whites.

The number one narrative that is thrown out there is “All Lives Matter”, or “Blue Lives Matter.” The point of “Black Lives Matter” is to show that our lives are just as important and if we were treated equally like our fore-fathers, we wouldn’t need a slogan to vindicate how important black lives are.

Since free agency started in March, Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed. The first narrative was his stance would cause a distraction to the team. So when Mike Vick was sent to prison for his dog-fighting ring, it was such a distraction, the Philadelphia Eagles signed him.

Josh Brown’s wife abuse was such a distraction, the New York Giants gave him a contract extension.

Donte Stallworth killed a pedestrian while driving intoxicated. That was such a distraction, the Baltimore Ravens signed him immediately after his 30-day jail sentence expired.

The second narrative was Colin Kaepernick was not good enough to play on an NFL roster. So, Josh McCown, Jacoby Brissett, Jay Cutler, Mike Glennon and Trevor Siemien are better quarterbacks than Kaepernick? I’m just saying.

So until certain facets of White American come out of their bubble and talk about the injustices of Black Americans from the first batch of slaves that arrived in Virginia almost 400 years ago, to the current injustices of our political, educational and justice system, the protest will continue because there are certainly other “Disrespectful” topics that need to be addressed.

Not standing for the National Anthem should be at the bottom of the agenda of “Disrespectful” topics unless an athlete or an American spits on the flag, burns the flag, or steps on the flag.

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