By: Monte Perez
I want everyone to imagine last year’s Super Bowl and envision this scenario. Right as the National Anthem starts, Peyton Manning takes a knee. After the game, reporters ask why Manning didn’t stand? His response, “Papa John’s Pizza and I made a deal that if I kneeled before the game, they would donate $1.5 million to domestic violence. This year, the NFL had 28 players on active rosters who abused their wives or girlfriends. I just wanted to bring awareness to that. Also, Nationwide Insurance agreed to donate $1.5 million to veterans. Our government does a terrible job with our veterans. Over 300,000 vets have died in VA Hospitals waiting for health care and over 20 vets commit suicide every day. I wanted to bring about change peacefully and this was my way to do it.” Manning would be branded a hero. Instead of saying after the game, he wanted to drink Budweiser, he made a political statement.
Fast forward to today; San Francisco quarterback, Colin Kaepernick has been peacefully protesting over the past few weeks by not standing during the National Anthem. By doing so, he has received a ton of criticism and hate. Let us all say it out loud. “Kap” has raised over $3 million in a few weeks by just peacefully protesting. ESPN’s Trent Dilfer said before Monday night’s game against the Rams that “Kap,” as a backup quarterback is there to keep quiet and just work on his profession.” This has to be one of the dumbest comments I have ever heard. So according to Mr. Dilfer, only superstars could speak out against injustices? Talk about an elitist mindset. Fans have also emailed me on social media saying, “Athletes should just play, they make millions of dollars,just shut up and do your job.” Again, one of the dumbest comments I have ever heard. Great athletes like Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown spent their whole lives fighting injustices. Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan have spent their careers writing about political issues. George Carlin was one of the greatest comedians of all-time. He constantly talked about the pitfalls and dangers of our government and organized religion.
The best platform to bring about change is when millions of people are watching. No disrespect to those who work a so-called “regular job” but their voices reach around 1000 people. Athletes and entertainers reach a million people per day, just on social media alone.
More players have started to take a knee. Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall has lost two sponsorships because of his peaceful protest. Yesterday on his day off, Marshall met with police officers and community leaders. Think about what is happening here, A player is losing sponsors because he is peacefully protesting and raising money. Is this The Twilight Zone, where everything is backwards? Heroes are being perceived as villains.
The “haters” have said these players are disrespecting veterans. I want to pull out my hair when I read or hear this. He is not disrespecting anyone. Kaepernick invited former Army Green Beret Nate Boyer to his team’s Thursday night preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. Boyer Tweeted, “Thanks for the invite brother… Good talk. Let’s just keep moving forward. This is what America should be all about.” Boyer later said in a televised interview, “I support him 100%, he is bringing about awareness and change the right way.”
If the 49ers came to me and said, “I want you to spit on the flag and we will give you $3 million for charity” I would do it in a heartbeat. It doesn’t mean I am disrespecting veterans, it doesn’t mean I am against the military. It simply means I am raising money for a great cause.
The NFL has no rule stating a player has to stand. The commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell said, “Our country has problems, we will not discourage any player who wants to bring about change, peacefully.” So, if the owners don’t have a problem with him, an Army Green Beret who met with the San Francisco QB, doesn’t have a problem with him and his team doesn’t have a problem with him, why do fans? As you can clearly see from this article, he is not disrespecting anyone. The ultimate sign of an American is someone who helps those less fortunate. This is exactly what “Kap” is doing. Isn’t this exactly what we ask our athletes to be, role models.
Someone sent me a picture of New York Giants great Lawrence Taylor holding his hand over his heart during the National Anthem and wrote, “This is how real Americans support the flag”. Taylor has been charged with sexual misconduct with a 16-year old girl. He has had numerous drug charges and just recently had a DUI where his automobile sideswiped a police car. How is this horrible human being more American because he stood for the National Anthem?
We live in a society where substance no longer matters. All that matters is the appearance. Almost every politician wears an American Flag pin on their suits. How many of our elected officials are busted for corruption, cheat on their wives, or must leave the office for some other scandal? It is disgusting.
Colin said in an interview, “This is bigger than football, this is about injustice, this is about humanity,”I only hope that more people are “UnAmerican” like Mr. Kaepernick. When all is said and done he is making positive changes peacefully. I wish more government officials, athletes, and entertainers would do half as much as he has done. The world would be a better place.
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