Colin, Will You Continue to Sit?

In August of 2016, Colin Kaepernick was asked by Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer, “Will you continue to sit?”

“Yes, I'll continue to sit,” said Kaepernick, “I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that must change. When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand.”

So it began, late summer 2016, the eighth year of the Obama presidency. The kneeling was intended to provoke, and it did. By declaring America to be trapped in a nightmare world of police brutality and racial injustice, Kaepernick insulted the fans. In the process, he proved to those of us who know more than he does just how little he understands about America.

Colin, did you know what you were doing when you started this? Did you know the nature of the people you were accusing? Did you stop to think about the world as it actually exists?

As a biracial child, raised by a white couple, educated at a predominantly white university, paid millions to play a game, supported by white fans, you turn around and call the nation “racist?” People like me are offended because we were there for the Jim Crow years. Want to talk about racial injustice? It’s offensive when you claim that those who oppose your protest are racists or sellouts. It’s much deeper than that.

Being black myself, I must be one of those sellouts. I grew up without knowing my father and on welfare in the early days of the Great Society, and I know what racial injustice is. In light of that, I made lifestyle choices. I didn’t sell out. I bought in, to a better way of life. Just like you did, but you forgot.

Being a generation older than you and having provided for a family, I have had the chance to see the world from many more angles than you have. I don’t think you are a bad person or stupid. I just think someone is feeding you bad information. Our nation is a much better place than 50 years ago.

You say that Americans are, at the core, racist and unconcerned about police brutality. Neither is true. So yes, there was push back to your protest. This is not because anyone is okay with police brutality or racial injustice. It was because we don’t like being stereotyped and falsely accused. That is how they justified killing blacks in the Jim Crow South.

The death of Michael Brown, tragic as it was, had nothing to do with police brutality. In fact, an investigation by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department found no grounds to charge the police officer with a crime. I am sure they looked hard to find one.

In the case of Trayvon Martin, the man who shot him, George Zimmerman, was not a police officer, nor was he white. He was an Hispanic Obama supporter and a civil rights activist who was tried and acquitted of second-degree murder charges by an all-female, mixed-race jury. If Zimmerman was black or his first name Jorgé, he never would have gone to trial. The case was that open and shut.

Colin, you shared your appreciation for Castro’s Cuba. Are you serious? Do you ever wonder why so many people of color flee that country on makeshift rafts and cross the high seas to come here? I am sure plenty of Cubans would gladly trade places with you, maybe all of them.

As you know, millions from all over the world desire to come to America, most of them, people of color. They know that ours is a fertile ground for those who are willing to take responsibility and build a life. There are millions of black Americans who have lived that experience.

We are a nation built by those who have overcome oppression or escaped it. Our Declaration of Independence was a statement of intent to cast off the oppression of the British. The Emancipation Proclamation was to cast off the oppression of slavery. And the Civil Rights laws were written to cast off the oppression of Jim Crow laws.

Your problem, Colin, is that you focus on the negatives of our past. When you draw on those emotions to live in the present, you cannot build on the current positives. Your bitterness impairs not only your own future, but also, unfortunately, the future of those who follow you.

As a side note, it is my personal belief that emancipated slaves should have received reparations. Whether it was forty acres and a mule or cash, this payback was earned by the sweat of our ancestors’ brows. It did not happen, and it cannot realistically happen now.

If reparations were my focus, my rage would be fortified, and I would fail to enjoy the life that has been afforded to me. I would not see that Providence stepped in to provide a remedy.

There was, I imagine, a conversation in heaven and the conclusion was, “Let the hearts of men be moved to value sports and entertainment beyond reason. For therein, the descendants of slaves will excel and resources will be made available to repair the damage of slavery’s legacy.”

Today, those who kneel in bitter defiance of America’s past ignore the blessing of America’s present. Right now, there are between 1200 and 1300 black athletes in the NFL. They earn approximately $3.5 billion per year, based on the NFL’s salary cap of $165 million per team.

Colin, there are a lot of ways those resources could be used to address the problems of black Americans. Those who embrace inclusion will find a way. With the right strategies, with the expectation of positive outcomes, private citizens, like you, can take action to help educate and equip the disadvantaged to rebuild their lives and their communities.

So, Colin, let me ask, “Will you continue to sit?”

Ron Freeman is a writer for Flatlands KC, a panelist on KCPT’s Ruckus, a consultant/speaker on leadership and personal empowerment, a Pittsburg State University Alum and a former professional football player. in the USFL, as well as, a former team chaplain for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals.

In August of 2016, Colin Kaepernick was asked by Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer, “Will you continue to sit?”

“Yes, I'll continue to sit,” said Kaepernick, “I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that must change. When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand.”

So it began, late summer 2016, the eighth year of the Obama presidency. The kneeling was intended to provoke, and it did. By declaring America to be trapped in a nightmare world of police brutality and racial injustice, Kaepernick insulted the fans. In the process, he proved to those of us who know more than he does just how little he understands about America.

Colin, did you know what you were doing when you started this? Did you know the nature of the people you were accusing? Did you stop to think about the world as it actually exists?

As a biracial child, raised by a white couple, educated at a predominantly white university, paid millions to play a game, supported by white fans, you turn around and call the nation “racist?” People like me are offended because we were there for the Jim Crow years. Want to talk about racial injustice? It’s offensive when you claim that those who oppose your protest are racists or sellouts. It’s much deeper than that.

Being black myself, I must be one of those sellouts. I grew up without knowing my father and on welfare in the early days of the Great Society, and I know what racial injustice is. In light of that, I made lifestyle choices. I didn’t sell out. I bought in, to a better way of life. Just like you did, but you forgot.

Being a generation older than you and having provided for a family, I have had the chance to see the world from many more angles than you have. I don’t think you are a bad person or stupid. I just think someone is feeding you bad information. Our nation is a much better place than 50 years ago.

You say that Americans are, at the core, racist and unconcerned about police brutality. Neither is true. So yes, there was push back to your protest. This is not because anyone is okay with police brutality or racial injustice. It was because we don’t like being stereotyped and falsely accused. That is how they justified killing blacks in the Jim Crow South.

The death of Michael Brown, tragic as it was, had nothing to do with police brutality. In fact, an investigation by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department found no grounds to charge the police officer with a crime. I am sure they looked hard to find one.

In the case of Trayvon Martin, the man who shot him, George Zimmerman, was not a police officer, nor was he white. He was an Hispanic Obama supporter and a civil rights activist who was tried and acquitted of second-degree murder charges by an all-female, mixed-race jury. If Zimmerman was black or his first name Jorgé, he never would have gone to trial. The case was that open and shut.

Colin, you shared your appreciation for Castro’s Cuba. Are you serious? Do you ever wonder why so many people of color flee that country on makeshift rafts and cross the high seas to come here? I am sure plenty of Cubans would gladly trade places with you, maybe all of them.

As you know, millions from all over the world desire to come to America, most of them, people of color. They know that ours is a fertile ground for those who are willing to take responsibility and build a life. There are millions of black Americans who have lived that experience.

We are a nation built by those who have overcome oppression or escaped it. Our Declaration of Independence was a statement of intent to cast off the oppression of the British. The Emancipation Proclamation was to cast off the oppression of slavery. And the Civil Rights laws were written to cast off the oppression of Jim Crow laws.

Your problem, Colin, is that you focus on the negatives of our past. When you draw on those emotions to live in the present, you cannot build on the current positives. Your bitterness impairs not only your own future, but also, unfortunately, the future of those who follow you.

As a side note, it is my personal belief that emancipated slaves should have received reparations. Whether it was forty acres and a mule or cash, this payback was earned by the sweat of our ancestors’ brows. It did not happen, and it cannot realistically happen now.

If reparations were my focus, my rage would be fortified, and I would fail to enjoy the life that has been afforded to me. I would not see that Providence stepped in to provide a remedy.

There was, I imagine, a conversation in heaven and the conclusion was, “Let the hearts of men be moved to value sports and entertainment beyond reason. For therein, the descendants of slaves will excel and resources will be made available to repair the damage of slavery’s legacy.”

Today, those who kneel in bitter defiance of America’s past ignore the blessing of America’s present. Right now, there are between 1200 and 1300 black athletes in the NFL. They earn approximately $3.5 billion per year, based on the NFL’s salary cap of $165 million per team.

Colin, there are a lot of ways those resources could be used to address the problems of black Americans. Those who embrace inclusion will find a way. With the right strategies, with the expectation of positive outcomes, private citizens, like you, can take action to help educate and equip the disadvantaged to rebuild their lives and their communities.

So, Colin, let me ask, “Will you continue to sit?”

Ron Freeman is a writer for Flatlands KC, a panelist on KCPT’s Ruckus, a consultant/speaker on leadership and personal empowerment, a Pittsburg State University Alum and a former professional football player. in the USFL, as well as, a former team chaplain for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals.

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