Well, the NFL football season is a week away. Usually at this time of year, NFL fans are being treated to an abundance of coverage about the opening week of play and tips on how to draft a dominate fantasy football team.
Unfortunately this year much of the coverage has been on San Francisco 49’er player Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand during the National Anthem.
According to Kaepernick, the reason he has decided not to stand is because, and I quote him, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Kaepernick further justified his sitting by saying, “There is police brutality, people of color have been targeted by police, so that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials.” Kaepernick also has shown his displeasure with what he calls, “rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments”, by wearing socks during football practices that show police officers as pigs.
I know what most of you are asking as you read this.
You’re probably saying, Kaepernick said and did all of this? The same Colin Kaepernick who in 2014 was fined for inappropriate language by the NFL when he called a fellow NFL player a racist word that begins with the letter “N.”
You’re probably saying, you mean the same Colin Kaepernick who, along with two other NFL players, was investigated that same year by the Miami Police Department’s Special Victim’s Office in an alleged sexual assault investigation.
You’re probably asking, you mean the same Colin Kaepernick who signed a contract to earn a total of $116 million and received a signing bonus of over $12 million to play football.
You’re probably asking, you mean the same Colin Kaepernick who was adopted by white parents, after being given up by his white mother and black father.
You’re probably asking…well let me stop there, because I could go on and on, with why it is so unfathomable to understand why Kaepernick would feel the way he does about the National Anthem and our country’s flag. The reality is, it just doesn’t make any sense.
We live in a region where soldiers work, play, and worship with us. I have many friends who are currently serving or who have served in one of the branches of the armed services. These friends are of all sexes, races, and backgrounds. I also have many friends who are in law enforcement. Officers who go out every day and put their life on the line, to protect and serve mine and your family. I also have some friends and family members, who have been wounded and even killed while defending this nation in wars that were both popular and unpopular in our society; these friends were white, black, and Hispanic. If this editorial is being written for any one group, I would say it is for all of those military and law enforcement personnel who have died serving this nation. Someone needed to speak up for those who were no longer around to speak for themselves.
Kaepernick has the right not to stand during the National Anthem. But guess what, people like me also have the right to think that he is, and let me be as kind as I can when I say this: He is a piece of dirt for disgracing the military, law enforcement, Old Glory, and our nation.
Our country isn’t perfect, and our people are not perfect either. Every segment of society can pick out those areas that we disagree with and complain about things not being the way that we think they ought to be. Mr. Kaepernick, Old Glory doesn’t represent the perfection of our nation, but what she does represent is all of those who have died, while fighting for the goal of us to have a perfect nation. Or as our preamble states to have a more perfect union for all of our people.
Riddle lives in Long County.