Unless you spent the weekend completely disconnected from the world, you’ve heard about the controversy around the 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, and his refusal to stand for the national anthem. His reason excuse for refusing to stand as a protest to black oppression in the United States is, in the words of our maniacal vice-president, “A bunch of malarkey!”
Kaepernick earns an average of $19,000,000 a year to play football. Obviously he is a skilled athlete who provides leadership on the field and acumen during a play. As a pro athlete, he is an entertainer and a celebrity. It makes sense, therefore, that if he is passionate about a social woe, then he has a platform to make people aware.
Standing up for a social issue affecting thousands and sometimes millions of people is a noble venture. If you really want to make a difference, after all, actions speak louder than words. To that end, Kaepernick’s action or lack of action has spoken loudly.
Do you remember the lengths Brian Anderson, Scott Vincent, Joshua Wilfsong, Ronald Payne, Timothy Creager, Scott Dougherty, Justin Hunt, Jeffrey Lawrence, Rodricka Youmans, Mark Engel, Tenzin Dengkhim, John Matteck, Nathan Clemons, Clifton Mounce, Christopher Winchester, and Bryan Opskar went to for what they believed in?
These are the men from 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion who died in combat during my time in that unit.
These men believed so much in how great our country is that they were not only willing to write a blank check up to their life for the United States of America, their checks were cashed in. These are the men I remember when I stand for the national anthem. These men and many more like them are the reason Kaepernick has the freedom to disgrace my brothers by not standing to honor our nation and our colors.
Our Founding Fathers didn’t win the freedoms we enjoy by idly sitting down so someone would notice their protest. They took action. They started a revolution that has changed the world.
If Kaepernick wants to use his freedom to make a statement about the oppression of the black community in the United States, I would suggest he use some of that $19,000,000 a year salary to help end the oppression he seems so convicted by. I would encourage him to leave the NFL and join the underpaid ranks of public service where he will be able to shape policies that prevent oppression for all people. I would recommend he consider contributing some of his $19,000,000 to the many worthy agencies that honor our nation, her veterans, and the people they help by actually doing something to make a difference and not grandstandingsitting for attention.
Kaepernick’s behavior is a testimony to our celebrity led society. If you want to be a leader who will affect change in meaningful ways, then do the hard work that makes that happen. Kaepernick’s example is a lesson to everyone: Leadership that influences positive change in a society requires more work than words and more action than sitting.
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