More NFL Stars Join Kaepernick, Protest US National Anthem

Source: TeleSUR
September 2 2016

Colin Kaepernick’s protest has gained momentum within the NFL, with more players protesting police brutality.

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) looks on before the national anthem against the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California, September 1, 2016. | Photo: USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, continued his protest against racial injustice and police brutality Thursday, once again choosing to not participate in the performance of the U.S. national anthem during a pre-season game in San Diego.

RELATED: Making a Stand by Sitting Down: Black Athletes and the Flag

“We have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with”

Kaepernick, 28, who had pledged to continue sitting during the performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before National Football League games, has now seemingly sparked a movement within the NFL with a teammate and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane joining in on the protest.

The protest has not come without a price. Kaepernick was met by heavy boos from the crowd during pre-game warm-ups and during his first offensive drive.

“We have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with,” he said after the game. “We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, aren’t given equal opportunities.”

Fidel and Malcolm X

Kaepernick has also taken to sporting a large afro. During the height of the Black power movement last century, many Black men and women wore their hair in an afro as a symbol of their identity and pride.

Earlier this week, Kaepernick also wore a T-shirt featuring revolutionary leaders Fidel Castro and Malcolm X.

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Thursday’s game coincided with “Salute the Military Night,” which saw 240 sailors, Marines and soldiers present a U.S. flag and a pre-game parachute jump by retired Navy SEALS.

Protest not aimed at the military

Commentators have tried to suggest that the 49ers QB is disrespecting the military by not standing for the anthem but Kaepernick has said his protest is not aimed at the military.

eric reidOne of his teammates, safety Eric Reid (photo), knelt alongside the quarterback during the singing.

 

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane also sat during the playing of the national anthem before his pre-season game in Oakland.

“I just like what he’s doing, and I’m standing behind him,” Lane told ESPN.

“It’s something I plan on keep on doing, until I feel like justice is being served,” said Lane, who added he did not personally know the 49ers QB.

RELATED: I Wore Pig Socks to Protest Killer ‘Rogue Cops’: Kaepernick

Protesting racism

Kaepernick, who led San Francisco to the 2013 Super Bowl but has since been demoted to backup, has said he would not show pride in the flag of a country that oppresses people of color, citing police brutality.

The police killings of unarmed Black men and people of color sparked widespread protests throughout the United States and prompted the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The 49ers have supported his protest, as have many others, including NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown (front, second from r.) presided over a 1967 meeting of top African-American athletes in a show of support for Muhammad Ali’s (front, second from l.) controversial opposition to the Vietnam War. (TONY TOMSIC/NFL)

Through his protest Kaepernick has joined a long line of Black athletes who use their position to protest racism in the U.S.

2 thoughts on “More NFL Stars Join Kaepernick, Protest US National Anthem

  1. Pingback: US war veteran supports footballer Kaepernick’s protest | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Kaepernick’s Protest is a Stance for Black Lives and Justice for People of Color in America-Support Kaepernick’s Protest!

    There are several comments that any thinking person can and should make about the ongoing protests of Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers Quarter Back (QB) who refuses to stand up to the playing of the US national anthem in his team’s pre-season games. However, perhaps four of these comments are timely in the context of the “controversy” that Kaepernick’s protests against the “oppression and brutality” faced by black people and people of color in the US have sparked in that country.

    First of all, Colin Kaepernick is simply exercising his first amendment constitutional right to protest the criminal and oppressive activities of the police and the weight of the whole US state machinery against black people and people of color in the US.

    As such, he is doing absolutely nothing “unpatriotic” or ” unconstitutional” or “disrespectful” or “anti-military” as some critics allege for exercising his constitutional right to protest against the multiple injustices against millions of his fellow Americans of color.

    On the contrary, what is “unpatriotic” and “disrespectful” are the over 700 black folks who have been killed by police so far this year and the millions of black folks living in poverty, hundreds of thousands more who are incarcerated and the millions more who experience very high rates of unemployment and underemployment annually.

    The additional disrespect suffered by black people, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians is the fact that the collective culture tolerates it as if such levels of dehumanization and oppression among people of color and particularly black people is normal both for policy makers and perhaps most of white America. Indeed, for Hispanics an estimated 125 have been killed by police thus far this year.

    Likewise, the health disparities among whites and blacks for most types of cancers such as breast and prostrate cancers and others are disproportionately killing blacks and other people of color even in many instances when the diagnosis is made later in the case of whites.

    The latter health disparities are primarily the result of the entrenched racial gaps that exist in the US and which are institutionally responsible for the obstacles to equal access to health care for people of color and black people in particular. These realities are equally “disrespectful”and “unpatriotic ” to human beings of color in the US. On the contrary, the dignified protests of Kaepernick in exercising his first amendment right are intended to highlight the cited oppressive conditions and the spate of police killings primarily of black people.

    The real issue that Kaepernick’s critics seems to be having with his protests is not so much his refusal to stand for the national anthem but more so his stance against the racist police killings of black people, police brutality and harassment of black people and more generally the abominable oppressive conditions which black people and other people of color experience as a routine in the wealthiest nation on the planet.

    It is Kaepernick’s principled opposition to present day Jim Crow racism against black people and people of color that seems to annoy those who are speaking out against him. Didn’t NFL player Tim Tebow, the NFL QB for the Denver Broncos also exercise his first amendment right, a couple years ago to kneel and give God thanks for his team’s success on the football field?

    He too was roundly criticized as being ” polarizing” among other charges. However, he too was exercising his first amendment right for giving his God thanks. Hasn’t the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the constitutionality of the stance of the Jehovah Witnesses not to stand for the singing of the national anthem on religious grounds?

    However, there was comparatively less fury in the latter cases when Tebow and the Jehovahs Witnesses exercised their fist amendment right to give his God thanks and the JWs continued refusal to stand to the singing of the national anthem. So it is reasonable to ask, why the massive outrage now when Kaepernick chooses to exercise his equally valid first amendment constitutional right to sit or kneel during the playing of the national anthem? Is it because Kaepernick is a Blackman? Or is it because unlike Tebow and the JWs, Kaepernick is protesting the unacceptable conditions for black people and other people of color in the “land of the free and the home of the brave? How do Americans reconcile these obvious double standards in relation to the very same constitutional right for all citizens and residents of the US?

    Isn’t this really another case of other Americans either unconsciously, or consciously but certainly hypocritically distributing the use of the first amendment right to other Americans based on their race and the issue they use it to promote?

    Isn’t this hypocrisy in the understanding of the constitutional rights of all Americans, the direct result of the still dominant white supremacist ideology which continues to grip the thinking, attitudes and behavior of most Americans irrespective of race?

    Second, the vociferous condemnation of the 49ers QB right to protest the oppressive conditions of people of color actually says more about the mindset of those status quo loyalists in America than it says about Kaepernick’s mindset in taking a stance against the injustices imposed by American capitalism and white racist supremacy against black people and people of color.

    Third, the ignorant and mainly emotional opposition to Kaepernick’s right to protest during the playing of the US anthem clearly demonstrates that those Americans who criticize his protests do not have a clue about the rights that their own constitution bestows on them. Perhaps this is a manifestation of the failure of the school system from pre-school to graduate school or perhaps it is a manifestation of the failure of tens of millions of Americans to read and understand their constitution and its amendments or perhaps it is also the failure of the US corporate media to educate the Americans about their constitutional rights so as to improve their functions as informed citizens like Mr. Kaepernick in their society.

    However, it is more probable that it is a combination of all of the cited reasons particularly the institutional failures of the education system and the media and other institutions including the political establishment which are evidently not designed to genuinely educate Americans to exercise their rights. Apparently, the latter would make it more difficult for the political and economic elites to more easily manipulate and rule them for their own ends.

    Furthermore, a well informed citizenry about their constitutional rights will be too subversive do what passes as “democracy” for the superrich and their political representatives in the US and globally. Indeed, perhaps such a state of affairs would produce too many Kaepernicks and political and social activists. The latter groups could employ the constitution and the rights it guarantees them as a basis to not only fight for even more rights and freedoms within capitalism but also as a basis to fight for an alternative system that is superior to capitalism.

    The latter prospect would clearly terrify those who rule American capitalism including the two political candidates who are seeking to occupy the White House.

    The fact is that if more Americans truly understood their constitutional rights, perhaps much more of them would be supporting not only Kaepernick’s right to protest but the just cause that motivates him to do so.

    Indeed, probably more white Americans would be embracing the very just protests of the Black Lives Matters or the BLM movement which opposes the oppressesive and brutal conditions of black people as a collective including the many police killings of black people and people of color that led to Kaepernick’s protests in the first place.

    To be blunt about it, in a genuinely free, civilized and democratic society where the rights and freedoms of the people are supposedly constitutionally guaranteed, Colin Kaepernick’s protest actions would have been mainstream and given much more public support by politicians at all levels of the political system, journalists, scholars, team mates and others without fear and retribution against people’s jobs and contracts. Specifically in the case of professional athletes like Kaepernick, the big fear to take action against is their potential loss of their multi-million dollar endorsements and contracts.

    However, it is fair to say that genuine democracies are not built on conformity to and fear for the political and economic elites. On the contrary, such democracies strive on the conscious and organized actions and protests of the people to change oppressive conditions or to highlight these conditions within the context of their constitutionally given rights as a people that should be supported by fellow citizens even when they may not like the political actions being taken by other citizens.

    Fourth, Colin Kaepernick is not only a patriotic who obviously cares about the lot of his fellow Americans of color who are being unlawfully killed by police and discriminated against by white supremacy and its structures of racism. He is also a breath of fresh air among American athletes who has the political consciousness and the courage to use his constitutional right and visibility as a NFL player to provide visibility to the viciousness, brutality, killings and discrimination of black people and people of color who are equally Americans.

    The 49ers’ QB is also exercising his constitutional first amendment right to break with the typical conformity of most athletes who worry more about their pay checks and their multi-million dollar contracts and endorsements than they do about justice for their fellow Americans and peoples in other cultures.

    As such Kaepernick must not only be supported as he is by other stellar athletes like the legendary Jim Brown and Kareem Abul Jabar, some army veterans and at least two other NFL athletes but more importantly he needs to be saluted and treasured as a patriot.

    It is also heartening to know that a growing number of Americans across the political landscape, careers, and races are supporting Kaepernick’s constitutional right to protest the increasing hell under which black people and people of color are living in America.

    Keep on protesting my brother and to your team mates and other NFL athletes and all other athletes, Bob Marley’s words “Don’t be a stock on the shelf” is perhaps an apt thought at this time!

    “You never know what is possible until you fight for what is desirable” Michael Lerner, Jewish Rabbi

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