Kaepernick: My American Hero

Kevin L. Cole, Jr.

August 23, 2017


In a week where 40 plus more cases have been dropped by the city of Baltimore after the re-enactment of the seizure of evidence, which leads one to believe that there is police corruption…again, and the talk of the nation seems to focus on white supremacy and it’s relevancy to today’s times after the events in Charlottesville, the claims of injustices that Colin Kaepernick stood for, rather kneeled against, seem to be legitimate.

By now most of us, fans and non-fans of football, have an idea of who Colin Kaepernick is. During the 2016 National Football League’s (NFL) season, Kaepernick, who played for the San Francisco 49ers at the time, decided to peacefully protest the national anthem that is sung before every game. Kaepernick was first questioned after sitting for the anthem during a preseason game to which he responded, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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…”

To no surprise to those unequipped with the privilege to overlook the main message of the protest, “patriotic” Americans were outraged by Kaepernick’s display of being a true American in the United States by speaking out against an evil that most are realizing is real.

Of course he got the “you make millions a year, shut up and play football”, “you’re just seeking attention”, and the occasional racist remarks that any individual calling out the beliefs of privilege-ridden people and their brainwashed lackeys receives, but that’s expected.

What wasn’t expected was the backlash that he received from people like Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, and Jason Whitlock who have all probably helped raise the profits of companies like Miller & Ben (#tapdance).

With all of the hate that Kaepernick was receiving you would think that Tamir Rice, a 12-year old child, wasn’t gunned down by police who got off with barely a slap on the wrist. You would think that 7-year old Aiyana Jones wasn’t killed by police that…got off. You would think that Kendrick Johnson indeed decided to wrestle a gym mat that also stole his organs before deleting any video evidence of wrongdoing. You would think that the Oakland police department wasn’t found guilty of participating in underage prostitution. You would also think that a number of institutions and government agencies haven’t released information on the extensive research of racial discrimination from police officers, organizations, etc.

None of that has happened, right?

Through all of the noise, Kaepernick has done what some before him have done. He stuck to his beliefs and still continued to protest. Even after getting called out by fellow players as if the star-spangled banner wasn’t the epitome of hypocrisy, but also as if it didn’t contain blatantly racist stanzas. He still remained strong no matter what those like Tomi Lahren and her snowflake coalition got into their version of formation to spit out alternative facts and misguided remarks.

If this didn’t make Colin Kaepernick a hero, putting to bed the notion that he was kneeling for attention because he wanted to play football did.

During the offseason, as well as during the season, Kaepernick actually put his money where his mouth was. He donated money and suits to those that are less fortunate than him. He’s helped send a plane filled with food and water to those in need in Somalia. He’s also helped fund “Know Your Rights” camps across the country for those whose rights are usually attacked.

He’s managed to do all of this while refusing to change his stance in order to gain a spot on anyone’s roster. I guess he wasn’t lying when claimed that the issue is bigger than football, and he would feel selfish if he didn’t acknowledge the issue.

Colin Kaepernick has truly shown what it means to be an American Hero. He has put his well-being on hold in order to help those that are less fortunate than he is. This is what Tomi Lahren and others blinded by privilege are unable to comprehend.

What he has started has slowly been trickling throughout the NFL. Recently, a number of players for the Cleveland Browns decided to kneel for the anthem bringing everything full-circle. As more and more evidence of the oppression and injustices that blacks and other people of color becomes accessible, the NFL will more than likely have to change their views on this protest especially since their workforce that generates the money that they make is 70 percent black. After all the NFL has proven time and time again that it’s all about the money to them (#CREAM).

Founder of rEvolutionary Arts, Kevin seeks to share stories in hopes to stimulate the minds of those willing to consume his work and provide a platform for like-minded Creatives to do the same. As an engineer by day and an artist for life, he truly believes that we all are wired to create. He’s a lover of HBCUs - with Prairie View A&M University atop the list - coconut oil, and the Culture in its many shapes and forms.