#veteransforkaepernick - revisited

Dedicated to CM

 Anthony Williams, Veteran

Anthony Williams, Veteran

What a difference a year makes! It’s been one year and roughly two weeks since I wrote my first blog about Colin Kaepernick’s protest. And while the mood of the piece was somber and pessimistic, my general disposition leans toward optimism. I hoped that Kaepernick’s protest would shed a light on the legitimate fears of the African-American community; I prayed that Trump’s spoiled special sauce of racism, misogyny, and fear mongering would prove to be too outdated to win the presidential election; and I wished my feelings of trepidation, concerning the direction of this country, would disappear and prove groundless and without merit because my country was inherently good and blessed by God (or so I was force-fed as a youth) and thus this blip of national selfishness and demagoguery would dissipate.

But this is America. And Black lives do not matter. They never have.

This was no more apparent than when Trump, at a rally in Alabama (are you really surprised this happened in Alabama?) along with Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, decided to criticize select members of the NFL for their peaceful protests. Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

And my countrymen cheered, and smiled, and praised this buffoon because, well, they all knew who he was referring to right? Just a bunch of overpaid niggers making millions in this here white man’s country. They’re disrespecting the flag and the anthem! Not to mention the troops! We love our Troops!

And while there was a small contingent in America who derided Trump’s “son of bitch comments,” there was another remark he said right after that really brought It home to me - that this President is only the President of his base and no one else. “For a week, (that owner would) be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for,” Trump said to thunderous applause.

Now I have a problem with Trump’s last statement for one reason. The month before Trump’s NFL comments, while being forced to address the violence that occurred during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville VA, Trump stated that violence occurred, “on both sides,” and that both sides had, “very fine people.”

From the information that I gathered, there was only one guy who decided to ram his car into living human beings, killing a peaceful protestor, Heather D. Heyer, in the process. This waste of life, this failed army recruit, was one of the many Nazi-obsessed white supremacists who attended the rally that day. Here is what I don’t understand. How can black football players who protest peacefully be called sons of bitches, while Neo Nazis are deemed “very fine people?” Were there no “very fine people” kneeling on the side lines? No, because Trump and the coward NFL team owners who juggle his balls are essentially saying ‘shut up niggers, and stand for the anthem.’ Because Blacks aren’t supposed to have opinions, or protest, or speak up for themselves and others who look like them. They’re supposed to stand there and dance. How can Trump and these people think that peacefully kneeling during the anthem shows a total lack of respect while hate groups walk around waving a Nazi flag, and that’s ok? We fought the Nazis you fucking morons. How the hell can you call yourself a patriot and an American and follow Nazi doctrine? Trump goes after black men for kneeling but can’t seem to muster an authentic condemnation towards white supremacists who wave the flag of our enemy? That’s treason.

But this is not just about Trump. He’s just a symptom of the disease. The disease of millions of Americans holding on to this nonsensical hate which has spread to the country’s most popular sport. You don’t believe that this country’s hate has reached a new level of insanity? The protest in Charlottesville was called to oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Do you understand what I’m saying? They wanted to preserve the statue of a domestic terrorist; a man who wanted to preserve the slavery of living beings and led the secession of the southern states from the Union. I’m not saying this situation does not exist in other countries but I have never seen a nation so adamant on honoring its losers. Adamant on preserving the memory of people who advocated for the enslavement, rape, and murder of its people.

Welcome to America, the only country proud of the genocide if its own citizens.

Even among the rampant racism that now engulfs this country (these jokers are so emboldened they don’t wear the hoods anymore!) Kaepernick’s protest has managed to spread to other NFL players and even players of other sports. It’s encouraging that the bravery of one man can still inspire people. Unfortunately, the message has been lost because of the bigots and racists who dominate middle-America. When I read the comments online it’s always about the anthem, the flag and especially the military/veterans. I’m so sick and tired of people trying to speak for me and other veterans as if we’re voiceless. The protest has nothing to do with the anthem or the flag and I damn sure don’t feel disrespected when it happens. If these so called patriots would just do a little research they would know that Colin initially sat during the national anthem and that he sought council from a veteran, Nate Boyer, and out of this discussion the decision to kneel instead of sit was born. Kaepernick made this decision because he did not want to disrespect the military or the country and thought that kneeling was a more respectful way to protest.

“We were talking to him about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from pride in our country but keep the focus on what the issues really are,” Kaepernick said after the game. “As we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee because there are issues that still need to be addressed and there was also a way to show more respect for the men and women that fight for this country.”

 

Does that sound like a man hell-bent on destroying your precious game?

 

As reported by ESPN, Kaepernick kept explaining what his intentions were. “Once again, I’m not anti-America. I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from. Those conversations are important to have because the better we understand each other, the better we can deal and communicate with each other which ultimately makes everyone, puts everybody in a better decision.”

 

This is what everyone is in an uproar about? This simple act of drawing attention to an issue that affects all of us? Lost among all of the vitriol thrown his way is the true reason why he is protesting.

When asked about why he was sitting down during the anthem, Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag that oppresses black people and people of color.” He continued to expand on his answer as NFL Media looked on. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Colin Kaepernick became a pariah and public enemy #1 among conservatives and Middle America because he dared say that black lives matter in this country. But he’s wrong. Because they don’t. They never have. And while I wish Colin the best of luck in his collusion case against the NFL, I don’t think the outcome will be positive for him. There are too many powerful men who see him as a problem for there to be any kind of significant understanding, and these powerful men take their cues from the middle-Americans who have long shown their disdain for black causes and black life.

If you wanted to know how NFL owners truly feel about the protests of their most prized possessions, look no further than Bob McNair, majority owner of the Houston Texans. McNair stated that, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

Just a figure of speech you say. I call bullshit. McNair’s statement shows that he views his Black players as prisoners that he owns. He doesn’t view them as grown men who care about their communities and people. He sees them as inmates trying to upset the balance of power in the yard. There was no mention of the innocent black men dying in the street. If these are the public statements of a supposed sophisticated businessman, can you imagine what is said in private between owners?

If you wanted to know how business owners feel about the protests, look no further than Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter, who laid the blame for its company’s poor third-quarter earnings on the NFL’s failure to regulate players’ national anthem protests. Schnatter believed that the NFL should have nipped the protests “in the bud” last season when Colin began kneeling during the national anthem as a statement against racial prejudice and injustice in America. Do you see what I see? There was no mention of the injustice that black and brown people face in America. Not one mention of what the protests were about. Just profits. Just money.

I am currently in the middle of my own protest against the NFL. I can’t rock with a sports league that discourages members for using their platform to protest the unjust discrimination and murder of fellow American citizens. I have not watched a game this season and I’m not sure if I will resume watching them again. I encourage those who actually care about this issue to follow suit. The NFL is 70% black and refuses to meet this issue head on. No, they decided to essentially ban the titular head of the movement in order to preserve their way of life. And their profits.

As I stated earlier this is bigger than Kaepernick. I’d like to say the country lost its way but the older I get the more I believe that maybe it has always been lost. Maybe any gains we have made racially have all been a ruse. The man that was elected President has just made it safer for white supremacists to be themselves and now we are seeing America’s true colors. And it saddens me. I want to believe in this nation so much.

Trump recently told the widow of US Army Sgt. La David Johnson, a Green Beret killed during a mission in Niger that her husband, “knew what he signed up for … but when it happens it hurts anyway.” The statement was classless, without tact, and totally inappropriate. Some people seemed shocked but Trump has a history of that kind of callousness when it comes to military personnel of color. I wasn't shocked, however, it sums up the feelings of this nation towards Blacks. Anything can be said to us, anything can be done to us and we are expected to sit there and just take it. The people who I have interacted with who foam at the mouth at the perceived lack of respect shown towards the flag by sports stars did not seem too bothered by Trumps comments to this poor widow. I’m not surprised by this either. Because in my country, more respect will be shown to the flag draped over a soldier’s casket then the black corpse that’s in it.