These Are Not Dumb Jocks!

reid and colin-kaepernick kneeling

During the 2016 pro-football season, Colin Kaepernick, then the San Francisco 49ers quarterback began sitting, and later kneeling, during the national anthem. He had a reason and he had a plan. Eric Reid, then a 49ers safety, began kneeling with Kaepernick as did many others. Their goal was to draw attention to the injustices African-Americans and Hispanics suffer on a daily basis in these United States of America. And it would have worked much better if Donald Trump had not jumped on twitter and misrepresented the nature of the protest.

It is really annoying that numerous people continue to willfully misunderstand why National Football League players kneel when the national anthem is played prior to each game. If these naysayers did even a teeny, tiny bit of research on the issue they would know that the protest is to spotlight – and hopefully stop — police brutality, especially the unjustified murders of African-American adults and children; systemic injustice against people of color; and economic inequality.

@Kaepernick7, @eric_reid35 and the kneeling NFL players are against all that. I want to know who has the nerve to say they’re for any of it!

So once and for all, let’s get this straight, Mr. Trump and all your offended, Nike-destroying minions: Kneeling is not about disrespect for the American flag; kneeling is not about lack of support for our military men and women; kneeling is not a negative gesture at all. People kneel when praying, and I have learned that Marines even kneel to honor fallen brothers and sisters as their caskets pass before them.

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Let’s face it, NFL players are not dumb jocks; they are smart, reasonable men. The franchise owners could stop the protests today if they wanted to work with the players. An NFL sponsored campaign against unjustified police shootings, public service announcements during the games shedding light on the issues of mass incarceration, driving while black and brown, and the need for money bail reform might do the trick. But instead of addressing the issues the players are protesting, the owners  continue with their misguided notion that they own and control the players as well as the franchises.

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So. The 2018 NFL season begins this week, and I, for one, hope the players keep kneeling – and not in their locker rooms, either. I hope they come right out on the field and kneel, maybe even their hands over their hearts. Or one fist in the air.  Why do I wish the demonstrations to continue? Because the solutions don’t require rocket scientists, only grown men willing to work things out; and as I’ve said before, these issues are matters of life and death.

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8 Replies to “These Are Not Dumb Jocks!”

  1. Well said. Yes, kneeling is a reverential act of humility, a much more nuanced gesture than many people are able to appreciate. And where would the NFL owners be without its black players? It makes sense that they would act in their own best interest by respecting the players and the issues behind the gesture, rather than throwing shade on something they have not bothered to try to understand.

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  2. I’ve been waiting for a new piece, so glad to read this one. This story – part of a growing, tangle of cultural threads and messages – hard to deconstruct. I support this protest and this action, and wish it would spread. Can you imagine rallies where everyone takes a knee or kneels? Powerful.

    Like

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