Kristi Love | February 2018
During Quarantine 2020, I’m sharing a few blogs that I just didn’t publish. What a better time than now. This will help me come back to one of my passions- writing and blogging…sharing my opinion.
I have a confession- I watched a few football games during this (2018) NFL season; including the Super Bowl (Congrats to the Philadelphia Eagles- who won for the first time since their franchise began). I was on board with the Southern Black Preachers, actors, and countless others who asked America to boycott the NFL by not watching football in support of Colin Kaepernick and I commend those who decided to boycott the NFL the entire season.
Colin, in his personal subtle way, took a stance on something and his action did what it was meant to do. It started a well-needed conversation.
“I’m not saying I’m going to rule the world, or I’m going to change the world. But I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world. That’s our job, is to spark somebody else watching us.” – Colin Kaepernick
We all have the right to protest. We all have the right to challenge and question injustices when we see it happening in our families, communities, states, country, and the world. That’s what America is about. Our First Amendment right allows me to NOT salute the American flag because that is our freedom. Colin Kaepernick will go down in history with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith & John Carlos, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson and others who used their platform to fight for justice.
Over the past months, my respect for Colin Kaepernick has increased as I watched him put in the work to be the change he wanted to see. He is a true example of an individual using their actions to make a statement for the good of the people. His actions spoke louder than his words.
In case you did not know, Colin has been “woke” for several years. He did not all of a sudden decide well into his football career to make a statement that ultimately cost him his NFL career. He has been on a journey to find who he was in college but really throughout his years growing up as a child. I commend his parents (Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, who adopted him when he was a few weeks old) for being open, honest, and supportive of him during his life’s journey. His biological mother, Heidi Russo was 19 years at the time and his father left as soon as he learned Russo was pregnant. Who knows what the trajectory of his life would be if Heidi decided to raise him on her own. Without of the support of his parents, he may have never realized his full potential and calling.
The adoption alone changed the course of his life. His parents never hid the fact that he was adopted and early on he noticed the stares and inappropriate comments his classmates would say to him. Colin went on to prosper academically and athletically in high school (where he played Baseball and Football). Through high school and college (University of Nevada, Reno) he sought the knowledge of self.
Fast forward some years, Kaepernick signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and eventually led the team to the Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. From there he would go from starting quarterback to not starting and the cycle continued. At the start of the 2016 season, he took a stand. Out of the blue (some may have thought), Colin Kaepernick first sat on the bench during the playing of the national anthem. Once media caught on and then he started to kneel, WHITE AMERICA was outraged. What I heard when folks were upset were these types of statements, “How dare this Black man take a knee while our anthem is playing.” “How could an NFL player decide to peacefully protest while he entertains us on Sunday?” “Play football, nobody wants to hear about your political views.” White Americans were not the only ones disappointed in his decision to use his platform to send a political message. Some African Americans were also not pleased and considered his actions a waste of time thinking he didn’t need to speak for African Americans.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” -Colin Kaepernick
He was not protesting to gain popularity; he was protesting to make a bold statement.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” -Kaepernick
I find he actions to be respectable, notable, and honorable. He did not only stand for something, he did something about the injustices- he gave to organizations that serve individuals and communities who are underserved and providing social justice education and/or services.
In 2016, this was Colin’s pledge, “I will donate one million dollars plus all the proceeds of my jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities. 100k a month for 10 months.”
In the final stretch of his one-million-dollar pledge, he challenged and collaborated with friends. In January 2018, Colin decided he would give his last 100k in a #10for10 challenge by partnering with his friends who he asked to match his donation.
If we want to make America great (or greater), we have to have the difficult conversations with an action plan in place. Just like our ancestors, we have to stand up and speak out when our civil rights are being violated. We may not live in the Civil Rights error but, we still have civil rights issues that are being violated and must be addressed. Thank you, Colin Kaepernick for taking a stand by kneeling.
*What are your thoughts about race and individuals taking a stand during the national anthem? Let’s talk about it- comment below.
You can find the list of organizations he donated funds to throughout his campaign on his website at http://kaepernick7.com/
Also, check out those who joined him during his encore series http://kaepernick7.com/10for10-encore/