Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Travelers angered by Kaepernick memorabilia at Reno airport

Melinda Barton | 01 September, 2016, 13:35

Many were supportive of the National Football League star, but when it came to actually knowing the words to the "Star-Spangled Banner", many were speechless.

I like to think what Kaepernick is doing is, in fact, somewhat inspiring. It's like comparing Midnight Train to Georgia to the Humpty Dance. Let's just salute the flag, wave at the F-16 fighter jets and cheer the collisions.

We've heard enough from players and coaches to know Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem is not super-duper popular in the NFL.

Kaepernick said last Friday after the Packers game: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color". This spared Kaepernick some of the pubic angst that assumed this came in protest of our American military, which it didn't.

"I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country", Kaepernick told the press Sunday. You probably also know what he thinks of Donald Trump. And if I might analyze a step further, how dare they complain. What makes standing for the national anthem important isn't having to do it, but rather our wanting and choosing to do so.

All of which means there's a lot to unravel here, because the outrage of one critic might be completely different than that of someone else.

What should horrify Americans is not Kaepernick's choice to remain seated during the national anthem, but that almost 50 years after Ali was banned from boxing for his stance and Tommie Smith and John Carlos's raised fists caused public ostracization and numerous death threats, we still need to call attention to the same racial inequities. The question, I suppose, is "why?". Kaepernick's biological father abandoned his pregnant mother, who put him up for adoption. It's a misguided rhetoric that none-the-less highlights the racial divide in the US. His act was one to which I could strongly relate.

Nothing was said to any of these people including me. While this part of the conversation will temper on for the rest of Kaepernick's career; a compelling aspect of this story is that this is yet another example of how athletes continue to find themselves in "hot water" over their views of issues in the American society that run counter to the status quo. Certainly, it's not as laden a descriptor as it was years ago, when it was downright prohibited, at least by all practical measures. For a party whose platform has essentially become "rich guy complains about America", it's utter insanity than many within it have told Kaepernick he can't complain about the problems of black people because he personally is rich. Yet his teammates, particularly those at specified positions, were most likely black. That's the reality of American professional football, as it is with basketball. He stands on the shoulders of 1968 Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith, and especially Muhammad Ali, who blazed a path for Kaepernick, as well as members of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx who recently wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts, after the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Not that it would surprise Kaepernick.

Here's the bottom line about Kaepernick: Even though he was correct with his message, he was wrong with his method.

Listen, I understand that Colin has the right as a citizen of the United States to voice his opinion, but why does he call all of this attention to himself?