Former athletes criticizing Colin Kaepernick really need to cut it.
Shaquille O’Neal…Ray Lewis…Jerry Rice…Rodney Harrison. The list goes on and on. All of these former athletes handing out criticism at Colin Kaepernick’s choice to sit / kneel during the national anthem need to do him one better. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!!
The larger than life O’Neal proclaimed, “What happened last year?” O’Neal asked. “How come you didn’t decide to do this last year, or the year before that or the year before that?”
Lewis, a future NFL Hall-of-Famer, insisted that Kaepernick “take the flag out of it”.
Rice, another all-time great, pulled out the ever-so-convenient “All lives matter” mantra.
Harrison went as far as to say of Kaepernick, “He’s not black!” But, hey, at least Harrison apologized, right?
These former ballers apparently have the balls to tell Kaepernick how he should exercise his right to protest, but have never stood up for anything when they had opportunity to take leadership and create change in the face of adversity. They each were pillars among their respective teams and had much firmer ground on which to stand. Yet, they all feel the need to critique the man who is a backup quarterback on, perhaps, the NFL’s worst team.
Like most of Kaepernick’s critics among the majority, these former greats have willfully and completely glossed over the root of Kaepernick’s decision to protest. None of them are willing to address the blatant issues of accountability-free documented murder, police brutality, stop and frisk laws, racial profiling, prison overpopulation, etc. They’d rather not have the uncomfortable conversations that come with that. They’d rather skip all the way over to their thin-skinned offense-taken rhetoric and claim disrespect to the military that has fought for freedom in this country. They, like many Americans, are unwilling to step out of the comfort that they’ve been provided by that military, deciding that doing nothing about everything is what those men and women fought and died for. They represent the pocket of powerful, black athletes who are too fragile to truly take a stand in fear of tarnishing their brand.
Instead, they’d rather take shots at the man who is continuously willing to risk his dwindling job security to shake the masses. The hoards of people who flock to watch NFL football on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas (get it?) will witness his stance in his beliefs. Whether they like it or not. Whether they agree with it or not. That’s the point of protest, right? This country was built on the premise that a group of people were fed up with being treated unfairly and decided to take action.
Kaepernick, like most well-adjusted humans, understands that there is a difference in saying “this country is not perfect” and “this country is not great”. If you’re reading this and you don’t understand the difference, feel free to reach out to me.
Certain citizens of this country will go absolutely apeshit if the third-string cornerback gets burned for a preseason touchdown, but are all shrugs when people are literally begging to not be needlessly killed by those paid to protect us all.
If you choose to salute a flag and national anthem that represent freedom and patriotism to you, I’m not begrudging you for it. However, if you truly believe in that freedom you hold so dearly, you must also make room in your world for those who see the flag and song that are symbols of a tortuous history to many a people in this country.
Whatever you choose to do before a football game is up to you. If you stand in person, but sit and chug beer if witnessing from your couch… that’s your right. If you stand just because, well, that’s what we do… that’s your right. If you are completely apoplectic during every rendition of the Star Spangled Banner… that’s your right.
Look, Shaq is my guy. One of my favorite NBA players of all time. Ray Ray? The best inside linebacker ever in my estimation. Jerry Rice is the GOAT. And Harrison? He’s considered by many to be the dirtiest player in the history of the NFL (that’s impressive in a league fueld by filthy aggression). But they each need to take a plethora of seats in this instance.
And to the current stars, the Cam Newtons of the world who are too spineless take a public stance either way… I’m looking at you next.