Colin Kaepernick Isn’t Too Rich To Protest. This Is America, Remember? We Only Listen To Rich People. » VSB

Featured, Race & Politics

Colin Kaepernick Isn’t Too Rich To Protest. This Is America, Remember? We Only Listen To Rich People.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

Last week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first athlete in a major America team sport since Mahmoud Abdul Rauf to protest the National Anthem by refusing to stand for it. Kaepernick’s rationale has been that he can’t honor a flag that represents a country that oppresses people of color; Black people particularly. Considering the national reaction Kaepernick has received, this protest has been effective. And, considering the Star-Spangled Banner’s racist roots, appropriate.

Naturally, this protest has made very many people very upset. Some have called Kaepernick ungrateful and disrespectful and suggest he move to another country if he hates America so much. Some have even taken that sentiment a step further and burned his jersey. (Which seems to only happen when White sports fans are angry about something a Black athlete has done.)

And, as is wont to happen when mindless and antagonistic patriotism, myopia, racism, and sports fanaticism mix, some people have said some remarkably dumb-ass shit about Kaepernick’s protest. Which makes me wonder if there was a sale in the opinion aisle of the “Dumb-Ass Shit” store last week. Because so many of the people saying dumb-ass shit are saying the exact same dumb-ass shit.

I don’t have the time or space to expound on each of the dumb-ass shits I’ve heard in the last week. So, let’s just narrow to my two favorites!

1. “The real problem with Kaepernick is that sports and politics shouldn’t mix!”

Initially, this seems like a simple and sober ask. Sports are a very effective distraction from the real world. Shit, you could argue that sports exist specifically to distract people. So it’s not beyond reason to A) expect to be able to be divorced from politics while you’re watching a game and B) become upset at a person who doesn’t allow that to happen.

Unfortunately, that’s impossible to do in America. Sports aren’t just intertwined with politics. It might very well be the most transparently political and politics-driven entity here. (Besides, of course, actual politics.) To wit, the national anthem is played before every high school, college, and professional sporting event. I’ve probably been to 500 of these events, and the anthem was played before literally every single one. That’s 500 times I’ve spent 60 to 90 seconds before a sports game facing our flag and reciting a verse from a cultish, terribly written song that makes negative infinity sense and effectively serves as bumper sticker patriotism. The Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t even occur in every school anymore. But if you’re throwing and catching a ball somewhere in America, you better Star Spangle the shit out of that ball.

And this is particularly true when it comes to football; the NFL specifically. Between the perpetual Marine commercials and fighter jets flying overhead and illogical allusions to shit like “the trenches” and “the battlefield,” NFL games are practically three-hour-long military snuff films. We’re thisclose to holding actual beheadings at halftime of the Super Bowl. Especially after Beyonce decided to be Black this year.

2. “Why is Colin Kaepernick protesting? He just signed a nine-figure salary! He’s not oppressed!”

This is my favorite dumb-ass shit I’ve heard this week. Because it’s the dumbest, it’s the dumbest in the most ways, and it’s the least self-aware. (It also seems to be the most popular one. Maybe the Dumb-Ass Shit store was having a two for one sale on this.)

The two most obvious signs of myopic idiocy here are A) the implication that rich Black people are somehow immune to racism and B) the equally inane implication that only poor people can speak out against it.

The sentiment in B) is particularly foolish because it neglects to consider an inalienable and sacrosanct truth about America and Americans. We only listen to rich people.

Generally speaking, America does not care about what poor and/or oppressed people have to say. About anything. Racism, classism, sexism, violence, health care, politics, education; you name it and we don’t give a damn about poor people’s opinions on it. Unless, of course, there are like a million of them saying it at the exact same time. Or they’re saying it while standing in the middle of the interstate or doing something else that disrupts daily life. (And even then, you might get trucked by a Prius.) But one non-rich American protesting a worthy cause causes as much noise and garners as much attention as a spider with sleep apnea snoring. Think about it: There are 300 million people in this country. And the person the GOP felt is most qualified to represent it is a man whose only qualification is his bank statement.

Why is Colin Kaepernick, millionaire superstar quarterback, protesting? Because no one would give a damn if Colin Kaepernick, Retail Sales Representative at Verizon Wireless, did.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • QueenRaven23

    Listen, I’m not on Twitter nor do I follow Colin on IG, but I’ve looked at his feeds for a while. This ain’t surprising at all.

    Basically, this is my sentiment on 100. The idea that people cannot protest because they are rich, or raised by white parents just blows my mind. And when the poor or the actual oppressed do protest, they get backlash anyway.

    Like how sway?

    • Duff Soviet Union

      Exactly. When poor people protest, people tell them they’re not important enough to protest. When rich people protest they apparently have it too good to protest. So nobody is allowed to protest. Gee, how convenient.

  • QueenRaven23

    I also don’t understand how disliking treatment of others=disrespecting the country. I can love this country and not be happy with what’s going on.

    • ALM247

      Chile, hush….didn’t you know that we are supposed to just shut up and be glad they brought us over on that cruise ship?

      • Question

        And pay a few of us big money to give them something to act rowdy over…

      • Mochasister

        And allowed us the opportunity to work unpaid internships and gain invaluable work experience?

    • LilMissSideEye

      I can love this country and not be happy with what’s going on.

      If you truly love something/someone, you want it to be its absolute best – you don’t just take a half-assed version and say “that’s good enough.” Ask these folks why they’re so dedicated to half-assing America and they get quiet real quick.

      • ALM247

        Because their version of a “great” America in it’s “best” state includes keeping certain groups oppressed to keep the lie of supremacy of other groups going….

    • Betty’s Babygirl

      Oh you can as long as you’re not a Resilient. You can execute an armed take over of federally preserved land so your cattle can graze on it and not be killed. But gosh darn it don’t not put your hand over your heart when the anthem’s being played or exercise your right not to stand when it’s being played. Then you’ll be tarred and feathered.

    • Beauty In Truth

      Because no one listen’s when black folks talk, this is why they do not understand what we are saying, because they refuse to hear us.

  • While Cam Newton is out saying racism doesn’t exist.

    • Ess Tee

      Seriously. Who’d a thunk it? Seven months ago, Newton seemed like the second coming in terms of being politically aware while Colin just seemed like the quintessential light-skinned Kappa.

      Now look where we are?

      • Epsilonicus

        I don’t think he believes that. He is afraid of the backlash

        • Cheech

          Any connection to his playing in the state (and now city) of another famous athlete who ‘s concerned that Republicans buy athletic shoes too?

          I have no idea, just asking.

          • Val

            Lol Something is in the Gatorade they’re giving NC athletes.

          • Epsilonicus

            I think the hate from the Super Bowl press conference left him broken

        • Ess Tee

          But Cam ain’t have to go allllll the way left with “We’re beyond race as a nation.” Like, c’mon.

          • Epsilonicus

            I agree with you.

      • Word

    • Nik White

      Still SMH about that joker!

    • heyheyno

      I thought the same thing earlier smh

    • Beauty In Truth
    • B-Dot Willz

      Cam is talking about not seeing racism but we will see what life is like for Chosen Newton in 20 years if he doesn’t have daddy’s money. He could end up as a hashtag just like the rest of “regular” folks.

  • ALM247

    My favorite part was him admitting that he is aware of the possible adverse financial impact this may have on him. A lot of these celebs could speak up more, but they are too busy buying yachts, popping bottles, making it rain, etc. to disrupt the status quo.

    It’s easier to pretend that you don’t see it or to pretend that if we just extend a hand in love (see: Common) that racism will just clear up like a bad rash.

  • Question

    I don’t understand why people want to exclude rich people from oppression. Isn’t that buying into Pharrell’s notions of “new blackness”? You can’t say that Colin has nothing to complain about in one breath and then turn around ask why Colin, Cam, and Carmelo are silent when stuff does go down in the community and they say nothing…

  • Cj

    The same people protesting Kaepernick’s right to peacefully protest are the same people who are yelling give me liberty give me death cuz the gubberment is tryna take their guns away. Ironic, huh?

    • QueenRaven23

      Don’t forget, they sport “Don’t Tread On Me” stickers on their cars

    • Your Mama

      and the same ones calling for this n**ger to be lynched & hung.

      • Cj

        Oh joy

        • Your Mama

          what fool? i was agreeing with you. you posting this dumb jpeg is for attention.. FOH!

          • Cj

            Nah, I’m good. I don’t need your attention or your comments. You came to my comment, not the other way around. We all know the racial slurs being tossed his way, no need for a recap. You may exit stage left expeditiously.

            • Your Mama

              girl bye, i can comment on what i want to comment on.. that’s why there’s comments, im referring to slurs i’ve seen thrown at him on instagram, which i disagree with. get out your feelings, this is the internet bitter betty..

  • Julian Green

    i don’t watch football. I don’t know anything about Colin Kaepernick, his personal politics or his life’s struggle, but I commend him for taking a stand on his principles. Especially since he has to know that the NFL is gon’ get all up in his @ zz for this.

    • miss t-lee

      the NFL made a statement the other day. They ain’t doing anything.
      As they shouldn’t.

      • Janelle Doe

        they really shouldn’t. Colin is answering the call to action ftom the opening of tge ESPY’S this is what the 4 Black athletes meant at the start of that show. Now I await allies to also speak and take some L’s

        • QueenRaven23

          Mike Tavarres from the Eagles at first said he was going to sit down, but changed his mind.

          • B-Dot Willz

            Because he is a rookie and that rookie money ain’t as real as that 2nd contract money.

    • Cheech

      I’m actually surprised and impressed at the team getting out of his way. I mean, they’re not standing behind him, but at least they’re backing his right to speak. That’s more than I’d expect.

  • Medium Meech

    I respect him more because he has so much to lose and is still taking a stance. Especially from the quarterback position since they have more expectation for being being company men and avoiding controversy than literally any other position in sports.

    • miss t-lee

      Indeed.

    • YeaSoh

      Yeah, that made him even sexier which I’m not usually into light-brights aka yellows or reds, I like my men chocolate, but he might could get it now after 2 or 3 drinks.

  • Val

    This is from Jackie Robinson’s autobiography:

    “There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that pening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was
    only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

    Colin walks in the footsteps of other great athletes who have felt betrayed by their country. Ali, John Carlos, Tommy Smith and others who have spoken out have also felt the racist anger of the masses of White America. And yet after some time has past all were seen as heroes.

    Colin should know that taking this stance may hurt him in the short-term but will put him in great company in the long-term. Not to mention that he’s right.

    And, doing it now when his career is on a low rather than when he was still on a high from a Super Bowl appearance puts him in even more jeopardy career wise but shows that his heart is truly in it.

    • ALM247

      Yes, and I have heard about the way Ali was treated when he protested. Folks in this country are something else. They drug Ali left and right, and then when THEY decided THEY wanted to honor him, they did so. They think they made you, and then they try to break you.

      • Janelle Doe

        and then when he passed they come back with amnesia talm bout Ali transcended race. stupse!

        • Anabbullard3

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !ic155t:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !ic155t:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash395DirectPurpleGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!ic155t:….,….

        • Anabbullard4

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !ic185t:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !ic185t:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash425DirectProductGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!ic185t:….,….

        • Debbierstaab2

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !ic175t:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !ic175t:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash435DirectSafetyGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!ic175t:….,……..

      • Mochasister

        My mother told me about how poorly the white people treated Ali for his profile Black stance. After his death it was nothing but accolades for him. How hypocritical.

        • Being white and hypocritical go hand in hand.

          • Mochasister

            It does seem that way.

      • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

        That’s very common. They even called Dr. King every name under the sun and after he was assassinated, then the establishment said that they loved him. Ali is a great example too. Muhammad Ali talked about loving his Blackness back during the 1960’s and racists hated him. Decades later, they want to use a phony genuflection about Muhammad Ali.

    • Nik White

      Excellent post Val – very well said.

      • Val

        Thanks.

    • Saw the Robinson quote earlier and thought about Kap.

    • Hugh Akston

      (It’s amazing how some of us failed to realize how much some of those athletes were hated back then for taking a stance…as yt folks were singing kumbaya with Ali…smh)

      • Val

        And it’s even more amazing that there were quite a few Black folks who thought Ali was a loudmouth who should have been quiet. And 50 years later we have people like Victor Cruz filling that position.

        • Hugh Akston

          It’s mind boggling really

          Can’t tell who’s for you or who’s against you sometimes

        • grownandsexy2

          They didn’t want to ruffle the good white folks feathers.

        • There’s always a good ni66a ready to show up to work…

        • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          Yes, Muhammad Ali was a very intelligent black man and the haters back then underestimated his courage and his analysis of how hypocritical American society was.

    • grownandsexy2

      Robinson went through some epic levels of hate.

      • Kas

        I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve read that while he was really good, he wasn’t the best Black baseball player at the time. Part of why he was chosen to be the first was because it was believed he would be able to keep his composure.

        • grownandsexy2

          I’ve never heard that but still don’t know how he did it. They hated his azz.

        • Betty’s Babygirl

          FACTS….He was chosen because even though he had strong opinions he was capable of suppressing them with the help of his wife.

        • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          You’re right. Josh Gibson was a better player than Jackie Robinson including Satchel Paige. They picked Jackie Robinson because of many reasons. Jackie Robinson is still the legend and he was the Rookie of the Year and he overtly fought for the human rights of black people as well.

    • Perfectly stated, sis!!

      • Val

        Thanks, NWT.

        • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          You always show the truth Sister.

          • Val

            Thanks, Truth.

            • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

              You’re Welcome Sister. You inspire me.

              • Val

                Wow, thanks, Truth. I feel the same.

    • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      Great Points Sister. Jackie Robinson was about to defend himself against a white racist trying to fight him. He refused orders that violated his rights. He also condemned white racism in public. He certainly has great militancy against injustice. Colin is right. The right to protest and the right to not pledge to a song that was created by a racist and slave owner is the right thing to do. By him standing by his principles, he certainly has inspired more people to do what is just in opposing the status quo.

  • ALM247

    And the attacks have already started:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/colin-kaepernick-lost-ton-weight-200855023.html;_ylt=AwrBTz59sMRXP90AJ8ZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–

    Now he’s “not playing well”, etc……..

    …..and why did the phrase “sexual assault” try to auto-populate in my search string when I went to search for more information on Kaepernick?

    Apparently there was an incident in 2014, and he wasn’t charged. He better be also bleeding the blood of Jesus because these folks don’t want him speaking out.

More Like This