Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the US national anthem prior to the start of an NFL pre-season game is the latest stunt by athletes who buy into this belief that their small action can change the world. I’m sure Kaepernick’s “statement” will make police think twice about arresting a black man (or woman) when investigating a crime.
While there have been opinions on both sides, people seem to forget (or don’t want to know) the underlying message Kaepernick wanted to send out. That is black people (or other visible minorities) should not be subject to a police investigation when they are suspected of committing a crime. He feels the colour of one’s skin is enough to justify one’s action against a biased law that governs the country. This is what I like to call the literary equivalent to diving.
What Kaepernick did was outrageous and everyone was right to criticize him. But I also think he was able to pull off his stunt because there are also those who blindly believe in the blacks-are-being-marginalized rhetoric that will support him. And that is the result of the work environment they all play in.
The NFL has been a league of outlaws since the days of Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor. There is no respect for authority and the inmates are running the asylum. This is not to be confused with outlaw league which is totally different. Compare that to the NHL, a league where acts of being disrespectful (i.e. Sean Avery) are few and far between. There is no way Kaepernick would get away with his stunt if the league wasn’t an organization full of criminal behaviour. Ray Rice, Ricky Williams, and Ray Lewis are other examples. There is no leadership from the league’s office who are more concerned about deflated footballs than actions like Kaepernick’s. Tom Brady must be laughing at the television set as he sits in his luxurious home with his beautiful wife serving his 4-game suspension.
The easiest solution is to boycott the NFL. But to quote Stephen A. Smith, that move would be “blasphemous”. I for one will continue to watch NFL games for this reason, there are still people in football that play football. You know, the game? As in moving a 12-inch pigskin down a 100-yard field avoiding several figures that stand in your way. Despite the problems the NFL is facing, the game of football is still the only thing that matters. Even in a league full of outlaws.