Colin Kaepernick got us talking, which was surely the idea

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference after an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. Green Bay won the game 21-10. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Colin Kaepernick, center of a storm. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Whatever else he might be, Colin Kaepernick is not un-American. His refusal to stand for the National Anthem was a classic expression of Americanism. Had we colonials never protested, we’d still be singing “God Save The Queen.”

Some folks believe that Kaepernick dishonored the flag, which is a symbol of these United States of America. The flag, however, is not America itself. As abhorrent as it is to many among us, it is legal to burn the American flag. (The Constitutional amendment banning such “desecration” hasn’t yet passed.) Flag-burning remains an allowed form of protest.

Kaepernick did not burn the flag. He merely sat on a bench in public view while the Anthem was played before an NFL game that didn’t count. He says he plans to keep sitting while all others stand as a protest against what he sees as social injustice.

He plays — sometimes, anyway — for the San Francisco 49ers, who are based in Levi’s Stadium, which sits not far from San Jose State, the school that produced Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised black gloves during the National Anthem after finishing first and third, respectively, in the 200 meters in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Levi’s Stadium is in Santa Clara, which is 45 miles from Berkeley, where the concept of student protests flowered on the Cal campus during the 1960s.

The point being: From the hue and cry raised regarding Kaepernick’s sitting, you’d think such a thing had never happened here. It has happened often, and in this very form. Staying seated was a core tactic of the Civil Rights movement. Staying seated on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. — after being told to move to the back — is why we remember Rosa Parks.

A Presidential candidate for a major party harrumphed that Kaepernick should go find a country he liked better. This is akin to suggesting that Rosa Parks should have tried the mass transit in Belgium or Bangladesh. That’s the part about protesters that a lot of red-blooded Americans didn’t get back in the ’60s and don’t get now: Those protesting are red-blooded Americans, too. They don’t dislike this country. They disagree with something about this country. That’s a difference, and not a small one.

It’s often said that politics makes for strange bedfellows. Political protest can do that, too. Jim Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick in San Francisco and works at Michigan now, said he didn’t respect Kaepernick’s “action.” Meanwhile, John Harbaugh quoted Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” When two coaching brothers take different tacks, it’s fair to say that Kaepernick splintered his audience.

And surely that was the point behind his sit-down: It stirred debate, and that’s an American thing, too. We love arguing. And so we are.

Reader Comments 0

119 comments
Daring Goldman
Daring Goldman

The Star Spangled Banner, national anthem, is based on the poem written by the well documented, evil racist, Francis Scott Key. The customary rendition in song omits the third verse that features a vile celebration of the death of BRAVE African men who took up arms on behalf of England in a fight for their FREEdom! "And where is that band who so vauntingly swore that the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a Country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,"

The racism of the good ole USA is DNA rooted. I'll never stand for that shiat!

brushback69
brushback69

I didn't read the article because I care not for Colin Napppyhead but mostly because Mark Bradley is a woeful sports columnist, if you actually call him that.


Two thumbs and 2 big toes down Mark, you stink....

candlin14
candlin14

The real discussion should be between Kapernick and his barber. That is where the true problem lies at this point in time. You could serve the entire Atlanta city with those Arbys Curly Fries.

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

This is America we do not do what other countries do. We love our country and we are proud of our national anthem , anybody notice the tears in the Olympics they are proud of their country and so am I So Kaepernick go where you can do what you want too.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

Not so sure Kaepernick's motive was to create a dialogue.  Last Friday was the third time he'd remained seated while we honor America.

And the America he's vexed about right now isn't 1968 America.

POC (I hope that's the correct term) occupy positions of power and influence - have for quite some time (e.g. predating BHO and Oprah).


If Colin's upset - he has every right to be - I would recommend he look in the mirror too.


Maybe he is.  I just have not heard that articulated.  He seems to be a dupe of tee shirt activism.


That's his right as well.

jezel
jezel

Rather than grumble about what this man did....grumble about...the lack of transparency with grand juries....the standards by which the police are held to vs. the standards the rest of us are held to...the predatory criminal justice system...the corporate greed that does not provide a livable wage for the workers...voting laws designed to discriminate....

jezel
jezel

@TOJacket @jezel Do you have a plan for equality and justice....for all of us. America is not perfect so we have to always improve. Nothing un-American about that.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@jezel @TOJacket Try obeying the laws instead of breaking them.  You will be amazed at how fast all that inequality bs will disappear.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@jezel how about we grumble about the rampant black on black murders that black celebrities like Kapernick, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton turn a blind eye to.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@jezel @TOJacket

Yeah, he has a plan.

Plans every day to get on here and take jabs at UGA. And to write poorly doing it.

Daring Goldman
Daring Goldman

After we grumble about the rampant white on white crime. Did you miss Columbine, Slender Man, Sandy Hook, Texas Head Taker, FL Werewolf?

GSB1
GSB1

Well put, Mr. Bradley! To voice one's opinion is as "American" as it gets--whether you agree with it or not...

TideDawg
TideDawg

I think Kaepernick will find his protest to be less rewarding than he expects.

Drknowledge
Drknowledge

Kaepernick's a moron but come on....it's so very patriotic when 60K people, most of them drunk and who don't even know the words, stand up and yawn their way through the anthem "to honor America" accompanied by some performing artist they never heard of singing a bunch of gospel riffs.  yah....very patriotic.

mgunter
mgunter

Bradley...... You are wrong again. Just another knucklehead NFL player acting a fool. Who watches that garbage ...... Too many egos on display in th NFL.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@mgunter

More people watch "that garbage" than anything on television, despite the egos.

I'm sure as hell not going to stop watching because somebody sits instead of standing.

NINERSSENDCOLINPACKIN'
NINERSSENDCOLINPACKIN'

I love how people that embrace and profit from what this country has to offer, have no problems bad mouthing it. This is the country that has afforded Colin an opportunity to be a success. I think if he really wants to make a noble stand, he should donate all of his paycheck to the oppressed people of this country and salute the flag that allows him to make that sort of change in people's lives. That would be a statement. But the fact of the matter is, he likes his comfortable lifestyle that he is raping from the NFL considering he doesn't perform at the level he is paid, and this is way of making himself seem relevant. I think this guy is a metaphor for everything wrong with the country right now, but you will never catch me ignoring my flag. This country offers way more than it dismisses. If you hate it so much, move out of it.

Freethinkethman
Freethinkethman

It's not that he didn't stand, it's why he didn't stand. The fact that he and the leftist media and all demagogues and panderers in between keep carping about blacks being oppressed, they conveniently bypass the daily genocide of blacks by blacks in this country. Reluctance to recognize it and address it is in itself racist, and when all the above erupts in the otherwise rare event a black man is killed by a police officer or white person, it clearly demonstrates latent hatred and racism.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Mark......brother, you have shat in Church!

EE95
EE95

The framers of the constitution found freedom of speech so important, that they put it first.  Anyone that has a problem with an American citizen honoring his constitutional rights should leave the our country...  I'm positive the Department of State will not prohibit you from leaving.

tyger
tyger

Anthems, pledges old news...

Courts already spoken...in re. school systems...

You don't have to stand, pledge, sing, etc...

You don't have to do $hiiit...

TOJacket
TOJacket

@tyger Guess you better hope the owner of the Niner's feels as passionate as you and Colin.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket I was telling a dawg poster about you today....maybe he is reading your dumba$$.......talked about how petty grammar police are....I agree!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You're the one who can't write and thus constantly looks ignorant. 

Instead of constantly harping on the Dawgs and criticizing the grammar police, why don't you better yourself by learning how to communicate?

No pride?

No shame?

No life?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

I just hope you grow up.

Yup, just like I said.

No pride.

No shame.

No life.

And clearly no desire to better yourself.

Proud of it, too, aren't you?!

tyger
tyger

Would Jews pledge German allegiance?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@tyger Has 6 million blacks been murdered by cops stupid?

Big Wally
Big Wally

@tyger @TOJacket Tyger try obeying laws, and you will quickly see your imaginary persecution disappear.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@tyger hey Tyger, if you feel that you are a Jew in Nazi Germany, guess what, there is nothing keeping you here.  Try Cuba if you feel like you are that persecuted.  You won't because you are a hypocrite and know that you have it better here than anywhere else.  P.S.  Cuba doesn't pour billions of dollars to their poor like the US does, but don't let that get in the way of your brainwashed template.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@tyger @Big Wally If obeying laws, working for a living, taking self responsibility doesn't work for you, then perhaps you should try one of the many socialist countries about. They may be on the verge of bankruptcy (i.e. Greece), but don't let that stop you.