Editor’s note: This post contains tweets that some may find offensive.
As we might have expected, some fans were not happy with the action San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick took by not standing during a preseason game against Green Bay on Friday.
Kaepernick was not doing a Gabby Douglas where he was just not thinking about placing his hand on his heart during “The Star Spangled Banner.” He actually made a conscious decision not to stand during the national anthem, saying that he’s “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people.”
He added, “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.”
Folk showed their natural arses in the aftermath—skewering the now 28-year-old who led his team to the Super Bowl in 2012—with racial epithets on Twitter and by burning his jersey. Kapernick said he knew there would be fallout and said he was ready to accept it.
In some other quarters, people are praising the biracial quarterback (obviously raised well by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick) for taking a stand against state-sanctioned violence against black people in this country.
This is especially significant because although football is one of the most conservative American sports (save for baseball), there have always been players (Jim Brown, the Mizzou football team) who have taken principled political stances against wrong.
Yet some of Kaepernick’s cohorts and peers in the NFL have come out against him, including New York Giant Victor Cruz, who said: “Regardless of how you feel about the things that are going on in America today and the things that are going on across the world with gun violence and things of that nature, you’ve got to respect the flag. And you’ve got to stand up with your teammates. … I think you go up there, you’re with a team and you go and you pledge your allegiance to the flag and you sing the national anthem with your team. And then you go about your business, whatever your beliefs are.”
Maybe some of these fans and players need a lesson on the history of the national anthem and its link to slavery, or how the U.S. flag never really swung for black people here. Or maybe they can just open their eyes and observe the injustice of the present.
Or maybe if the police break Cruz’s legs when they pull him over and he can’t salsa anymore, he might get it. But maybe not.