Colin Kaepernick takes a ‘stand’ for patriotism

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(AP)

When Muhammad Ali died in June, praise flowed from all over the country not merely for his skill as a boxer, but for his courage and refusal to compromise outside the ring. It was as if time and Parkinson’s had drained all the danger from Ali, somehow turning the hated black Muslim firebrand who had refused to fight “the white man’s war” in Vietnam into a national icon beloved by all.

It’s odd, though. Many of the very same sports fans and media figures who celebrated Ali’s moral bravery a few months ago are today outraged by the decision of Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49er quarterback, not to stand during the national anthem. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick explained, specifically citing strained relations between law enforcement and minorities.

Me, I wouldn’t have done it. When you’re raised in a military family, as I was, the flag and the anthem have a different meaning than they might for other people. (See below). But we live in a rich, complicated and at times contradictory country, and you have to recognize that the flag and anthem can have contradictory meanings for people.

Or maybe you don’t. Donald Trump, for one, thinks that Kaepernick “should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it’s not gonna happen.”

I can’t speak for Kaepernick, but I don’t think he wants to find another country. I think that like Ali, he wants this country, his country, to do better at living up to the ideals that it espouses. His refusal to stand is a way of saying that in his eyes at least, this country is not yet what it should be. So what some see as a national insult, I see as an act of patriotism.

Kaepernick also has good company in the likes of Jackie Robinson, the one true saint of American sport. In his 1972 autobiography, Robinson recounted the racial slurs that he endured while desegregating baseball, the hatred that he had to shrug off. “As I write this 20 years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem,” Robinson confessed. “I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

A little closer to home, we have the example of “Hammering Hank” Aaron, who endured racism of the vilest sort as he challenged Babe Ruth’s career home run mark. On the night that he finally hit historic No. 715 here in Atlanta, baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn was nowhere to be found, an absence that Aaron took as a race-tinged snub. So a few years later, when Kuhn invited him to New York to accept an award, a still angry Aaron refused to go.

Another Atlanta legend, AJC columnist Lewis Grizzard, took great offense at Aaron’s decision. Hank used to be “everybody’s superstar,” Grizzard complained, a statement that was decidedly untrue in the South of the ’60s and ’70s. “But oh Henry, how you have changed. Before you hit No. 714 to tie the Babe’s record in Cincinnati, you sounded off because it was the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death. Suddenly you’re Henry Aaron, activist. Who put you up to that, Jesse Jackson?”

Aaron had “sounded off” that day in Cincinnati by simply asking for a moment of silence in King’s memory.  The Reds refused. Like Kaepernick, he had hoped to use his fame to do more than sell tickets and hotdogs. Like Kaepernick, what he got instead was anger and outrage.

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Reader Comments 0

1073 comments
omark
omark

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/nyregion/christie-vetoes-minimum-wage-increase-for-new-jersey.html?_r=0

Governor lard butt just vetoed the state’s new 15 dollar minimum wage. This is why I could never be a Republican. They just don’t get it. People can’t live on 7.25 an hour. It’s not just their problem it’s our problem. The Walton’s of the world aren’t picking up the tab for their employee’s healthcare, and food stamps we are.

That shiny new toaster, you picked up, at Wal-Mart, isn’t the bargain you thought it was. If you’re serious about making America great again, consider paying people living wages. Until then, maybe we have bigger problems than unpatriotic quarterbacks. At some point, people have the right to ask what America’s done for them lately.

NWGAL
NWGAL

Why did the Mexican president invite Clinton and Trump during the last months of an election? Why would they accept? Does the President of Mexico hold particular sway over our election?  Maybe we can get Trudeau in Canada to invite them as well. Every country in the world can invite them.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Hillary has promised to also meet with the President of Mexico just as soon as his check to the Clinton Foundation clears

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Following her visit to a poor neighborhood called the Hamptons in New York, Hillary is preparing for a swing through another down and out area called Hollywood to let the folks know she really connects with the common people 

NWGAL
NWGAL

@Infraredguy @OldEngineer Donald is campaigning for black votes by speaking in white neighborhoods. But you think the Trump campaign isn't begging for donations? Read about Pence's visit to Georgia. Those dinners are expensive to attend.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Republican house. Republican Senate. No E-verify legislation. Yeah, they're the party that's against illegals. It's called BS.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

My guess is Trump is going to claim the Mexican president agreed to pay for the wall today. Because his followers are dumb enough to believe there will be a wall, so why not?

-

You guys seem awfully sure that today's Trump visit will end in debacle for him. 

Do you really know? 

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

It will because he has two choices; stick to his guns, or flip flop again.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@DownInAlbany @Donnie_Pinko 

I have no idea what Trump has in mind here, but the idea that he's going to walk into a trap like that with no plan at all does not strike me as likely.

NWGAL
NWGAL

@Donnie_Pinko Why would the President of Mexico invite the candidates? His popularity numbers are low. What's in it for him? If he's expecting to improve his standing in Mexico, Trump's visit will have to end as a debacle. Otherwise, what's the point?

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

an remember, Trump voters - who worked so hard to get him nominated - your fat oxycontin stained announcer said it himself

it was all a joke, and the joke's on YOU

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

My guess is Trump is going to claim the Mexican president agreed to pay for the wall today. Because his followers are dumb enough to believe there will be a wall, so why not?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@JeffreyEav


And, so gullible as to believe that the Mexican president would have agreed to pay for it, unless he has accepted a yuuugh bribe to do so from The Donald, imo.

TBS
TBS

By the end of the day some of the Trumpettes might believe that Mexico is not only going to pay but build it as well.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

jay's CK thread still up?

I wonder if Kaepernick is aware of laws that HAVE been enacted to address BLM's concerns regarding police violence.

I wonder if he knows how many bills are up for consideration...how many states have enacted laws and how many are considering laws.

I wonder if he's aware of H.R. 2302...who proposed it and what state he was from...where it stands in Congress.

Could he name the larger cities that have enacted positive change and what those changes were?

Does he EVEN know that BLM's San Francisco chapter pulled out of this year's gay pride parade because of the necessary police presence following the Orlando shooting?

CK needs to be SAT DOWN in front of a camera and asked those questions.

I'm bettin' he's just a lazy pantomime who chooses to sit on his football. 

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@Figmo2,

Ck didn't mention BLM, you did so the rest of your post doesn't make sense. Weak attempt to link CK with an organization you don't like

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@FIGMO2 He's a misguided fool.  If there was ever any doubt, the Castro t-shirt sealed the deal.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@FIGMO2 

I wonder if Kaepernick is aware of laws that HAVE been enacted to address BLM's concerns regarding police violence.

-

Um, does window dressing actually count in this regard? 

Paul42
Paul42

@FIGMO2

Those are good questions.

Unfortunately, I hear from far too many adults, whenever something unfortunate happens in the black community, who ask "why doesn't BLM protest over that?"

Plus there's still a whole lot of 'who do you pick:  Black Lives Matter or Police Lives Matter"?

The problem is not yet solved.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@FIGMO2


"I'm bettin' he's just a lazy pantomime who chooses to sit on his football."

------------------------------

You would.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings @FIGMO2

CK is about as effective as you've been here, ME.

Your "higher conscientiousness" crap has alienated more people than not. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@FIGMO2 @MaryElizabethSings


It makes people think, in spite of the alienation.  I got their attention enough for them to even bother with alienation to resist my thoughts.


The endgame for me is changing consciousness.  That is done in a myriad of ways.  I have to be true to myself and my style for doing that, or my attempts comes off as simply "a game" and I am playing no games with trying to raise consciousness.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings @FIGMO2

Blah...blah...blah, ME

You make people THINK with your empty-headed rhetoric?

Your possession of "higher conscientiousness" crap closes them off FROM you. 

SEPARATES them FROM you.

Get lost! Step away from me before you get burned.


ByteMe
ByteMe

"Trump to visit Mexico."


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

rimsky
rimsky

@ByteMe Actually he is crawling on his hands and knees.

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@ByteMe The Mexican President should ply Trump with the finest of their tap water. Perfect priming for the immigration speech.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"Just divide this country into two parts, one for the people of color and one for the whites."

------------------------------------------ 


Wake up.  You are now in the 21st century.  How could you possibly "divide" the population into "people of color" and "white"?  Do you not realize that probably 95% of the total population has either some percentage of "colored" blood or "white" blood running through their (our) veins?

Paul42
Paul42

@MaryElizabethSings

"You are now in the 21st century."

'Physically in' is one thing.

'Mentally in' is quite another -