Colin Kaepernick vs The Nation

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.” — Colin Kaepernick, August 2016

I am, once again, going to wade into this controversy with my own semi-humble opinion.  It is a topic I have dealt with at least once or twice before, but people are losing their grip on reality here and it has set my radar to ticking.

To start, there is not a single word in the U.S. Constitution about kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.  The national anthem wasn’t even thought of in 1787 when the Constitution was signed and ratified.  The lyrics to the song were written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, but the song was only adopted as the national anthem in March 1931.  Additionally, there is no federal or state law making it a requirement to stand when the song is sung or played.

Last October, former judge and then-senatorial candidate from Alabama, Roy Moore claimed …

“It’s against the law, you know that? It was a act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”

Judge Moore lied.  There is no such law.  Congress indeed passed a law dealing with decorum during the national anthem. But the etiquette is merely a suggestion, not a legal obligation.  It is a song, folks … only a song.  Hardly worth people threatening other people’s livelihoods over.

There is a legal precedent that protects people’s rights in such cases.  In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia vs. Barnette that the First Amendment protects people from being forced to participate in patriotic ceremonies that offend their conscience or beliefs.  And more recently, in the 1989 case of Texas vs. Johnson, the court protected the the right to burn the American flag as a form of symbolic speech.  Just as the national anthem is but a song, the flag is but a piece of cloth.  People matter more!

Catherine Ross, a law professor at George Washington University who specializes in First Amendment law, said “If the Constitution protects the right to burn the flag and the right not to participate in the pledge as aspects of free speech, it must also protect the right to kneel respectfully during the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance.”  I strongly suspect that is how the courts would rule.

Colin Kaepernick used to play for the San Francisco 49ers.  From what I understand, he was one of the league’s best quarterbacks.  As such, he has a voice, a presence, a public persona and in August 2016, he used his voice to call attention to the atrocities being committed against African-Americans in this nation by police.  After a spate of police killing unarmed black men, it was time for somebody to take a stand … or, in this case, a knee, for Mr. Kaepernick took a knee when the national anthem was played.  And, based on the uproar, you might have thought he murdered a room full of babies.

Kaepernick began receiving death threats, one NFL official referred to him as a ‘traitor’, and worst of all, he was black-balled from the NFL and no team would sign him in 2017.  He lost his livelihood for a peaceful protest against proven injustices by law enforcement in this country.

Pause here for just a moment, if you will.  After the rally by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Donald Trump claimed that among those hate groups there were some “fine people”.  Lives were lost that day, murder was committed, and the most abominable form of hatred was on display by those “fine people”.  And yet, a man engages in a peaceful protest that hurts no one, simply goes down on one knee to remind people that this country is losing its values, and here’s what Donald Trump had to say about him …

“I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.” – 30 August 2016

And more recently …

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” – 23 September 2017

“You have to stand proudly for national anthem, or shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. And the NFL owners did the right thing.” – 24 May 2018

Why did the president of the country feel a need to involve himself to start with, and why the Sam Heck is he still, two years later, injecting his hateful and uneducated opinion?  This, folks, is the piece of work we have sitting in the highest seat of government in this country.  But back to Mr. Kaepernick …

In May of this year, the NFL, presumably under pressure from Donald Trump, approved a policy that forbids players from kneeling during the playing of the anthem.  As a compromise, they may stay in the locker room, but if they are on the field, they must stand.  The decision was made without input from or negotiation with the players union, which is a flagrant violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith.  It might behoove them to remember that it is the players, not the team owners nor NFL officials, who make the money that supports the NFL and the teams.

What I find equally, if not more disappointing is that the majority of people in this country do not support players’ right to protest peacefully by kneeling during the anthem.  43% of voters believe kneeling during the national anthem is an appropriate way to protest racial inequality, while the majority, 54%, say it is not appropriate.  The other 3% were asleep.  Predictably, though sadly, the results fell along political and racial lines.  We are no better than we were 200 years ago, my friends.

Meanwhile … Colin Kaepernick, who has been out of work since March 2017, was made privy to leaked audiotapes of an NFL meeting held in October where, in response to players questioning whether Kaepernick had, in fact, been blackballed, the team owners expressed their fears about further aggravating Trump.  Patriots owner Robert Kraft—a supporter of Trump—worried that “the problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America.”

Colin Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, asserting that the league conspired to deprive him of his right to sign with any team.  The burden of proof is on Kaepernick, and collusion is not easy to prove.  The NFL had high hopes that Kaepernick would not be able to convince arbitrator (and University of Pennsylvania law professor) Stephen Burbank that there is sufficient evidence of collusion.  However, last week those hopes were dashed when Burbank, who was appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association, said lawyers for Kaepernick had unearthed enough information in the past year for the case to proceed to a full hearing.  It is a preliminary step, but an important one.

For the record, this writer fully supports Colin Kaepernick and any other players who have the courage to stand by their convictions, who are not afraid of the bullies in government, the NFL and society.  The flag and the anthem ought to stand for something, but more and more these days, they stand for hypocrisy rather than values.

99 thoughts on “Colin Kaepernick vs The Nation

  1. I have seen Amanda on other posts on occasion and she is just a very mean spirited hateful person not worth arguing with, for that is what she loves.
    If blacks, Hispanics, gay people and other minorities were treated fairly, there would be no need for any protest, but they won’t be because people like Amanda exist and relish their own racism and hatred.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This whole thing is an embarrassment.

    If you are profiting off a capitalistic system that veterans SACRIFICED their lives for, and then decide to sit down while those veterans are being honored, you are an ignorant, libtard cuck who is an embarrassment to their country.

    Kaepernick has never sacrificed ANYTHING for ANYONE, he is an ignorant, far left snowflake; and to add to that, Nike does not care about anything (not black people, not people in general, nothing) except MONEY.


    • I don’t think it’s about honoring veterans as much as it is about honoring the flag. There is a difference.

      It has been said the flag of the U.S. represents the “land of the free.” But to most people, it represents Americanism, an ideology, or belief in devotion, loyalty, or allegiance to the United States of America, or to its flag, traditions, customs, culture, symbols, institutions, or form of government. Notice there is no mention of “veterans.”

      As with most people, you have missed the entire reason for Kaepernick’s protest.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The entire ritual of the anthem being played and veterans being on the field in football…….

        Is to honor veterans…..

        Regardless, how do you think I and most people have missed the reason for his “protest” against “police brutality”? (Which is a mythical, non-issue in the United States)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I say you missed it, Amanda, because you brought up veterans. If people truly understood (and supported) the reason for his protest, there would be no mention of flags, anthems, veterans, etc. But of course, as you have pointed out, many people consider it a “non-issue” so they latch onto other reasons to discredit his actions.

          We’re obviously on different sides of the fence so there’s no point in discussing it any further. I’ll just add that I totally support Jill’s post.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Actually, you are wrong. It is to honour the nation. Black people, Muslims, Latinos … we are all a part of the nation. When people are being killed and the government turns a blind eye, we have the right to peacefully protest. And get something straight … police brutality is NOT a myth in the U.S. I have seen it up close and personal.


          • In 2018 more than twice the amount of white people have been killed by police officers than black people have.

            Why only focus on the people of color, especially when statistically they commit the most violent crime by far?


      • Excellent response, Nan. Thank you! I was off-grid this afternoon, and thus was slow on picking up Amanda’s comment. As I said to her just a few minutes ago, almost every vet who has been asked has replied that what they fight for is the right of Colin Kaepernick and every one of us to engage in peaceful protest. You are right … Amanda and many others do not care about the reason he is protesting … racial injustice matters little to them, apparently.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Excuse me, Amanda, but you are new to this blog, so let me explain something before I respond to your comment. We treat each other with respect here, and I find your language highly offensive and disrespectful. I welcome differing opinions, but not personal affronts.

      That said, almost every veteran who has been asked has said that they were fighting for this very thing, for Mr. Kaepernick’s or anybody else’s right to protest injustices. The flag is naught but a piece of cloth. Men and women are dying at the hands of police … does standing up for a piece of cloth mean more to you than people’s lives?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.” – Colin Kaepernick, August 2016
    … and he didn’t!! Values to stand for …

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this. I agree. I really think kneeling is a respectful gesture anyway. These guys are expressing their dissent in a respectful way. People who are driven mad by this are, maybe, racists…? (I know they would deny it, but most racist people don’t even know they’re racist.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know … you bring up an excellent point here … most racist people don’t consider themselves racist. That is what makes it so difficult, I think, to break the cycle of bigotry and hate. Thanks!


      • It’s not about the races of veterans — veterans are all races — it’s about the race of Kaepernick and the people whose deaths he is protesting. In fact, I don’t believe that the purpose of playing the national anthem and having the flag at games is strictly ‘to honor veterans;’ it’s to honor our country and the things that it stands for, of which veterans are a part. But in a country that kills black men so indiscriminately, it’s totally legit to decide you’re not going to stand for its symbols in protest. Personally, I think that the people who are angered by Kaepernick’s right to use his free speech don’t think his protest is valid because he is black and the people whose deaths he is kneeling for are also black. Let’s don’t forget this is their country too; they are protesting to make it better. I think that, if he was a white guy protesting some white people’s injustice, they’d be okay with it. The whole ‘it dishonors veterans’ argument is just a cudgel with which to justify their racism.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. Thoroughly fabulous post, Jill! Isn’t Trump great at setting up smoke screens to hide behind, I say KAEPERNICK is a hero and the coaches are all dumb arses who don’t have the “equipment” to stand up to the national bully. Here I thought football was supposed to be a man’s game!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!!! I agree … Kaepernick stands for what he believes in … more than most people do. And he has given up a career to do so. Yeah, a man’s game indeed. Well, the players perhaps, but surely not the team owners and NFL execs. They have not, as you say, the ‘equipment’ or the cojones, as I say, to stand up for truth and justice. Good to see you!!! Hope you are doing alright?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jill, let me cut to the chase. I find it far more offensive that the man in the White House has politicized a man who has thoughtfully and under duress used the anthem to protest maltreatment of Black Americans. This is s good example of faux outrage that Obama referred to at the McCain funeral.

    I am more offended that said critic sided with a Russian tyrant over his intelligence staff, as well as defaming a POW hero, denigrating a Gold Star family, stiffing Vets on a fundraiser until it was pointed out that he had, getting up in front of Boy Scouts and demonstrating how one should not act, et al. People don’t need to hear from an man who has a country of one, tell us what is patriotic. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • You already know I am 100% in agreement with you, my friend. Can you imagine Obama, or even Bush, making such horrid comments about an athlete, entertainer, or any other public persona? It simply isn’t done. Or at least … it used to not be done. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Is this a turn of conscience for Nike, or just an advertising ploy? I could have this wrong, but in a Michael Moore movie, “The Big One,” Moore invites then Nike owner Phil Knight to travel with him to Indonesia to visit his off-shore wage-slave factory, but Knight absolutely refuses to go. He claims his factory there is a boon to the people of Indonesia, but it is obvious he has no thought for the people there, but only his company’s profits.
    I have no idea who runs Nike now, but I certainly hope their heart is where they are saying it is. If this upcoming commercial is just a ploy to buy themselves consumer creds, I hope it is exposed as soon as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I strongly suspect it is NOT an advertising ploy, for they stand to lose money from this. I have no doubt that there will be calls to boycott Nike, probably even from Trump himself, and with more than half the nation against Kaepernick, a lot of people will probably be buying Adidas or Reebok for Christmas. I applaud them for the move … but time will tell if it was sincere or not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Jill and friends,

        This week, I will be buying Nike shoes for myself, my grandson and granddaughter. As a matter of fact, I’m hoping that others who back Colin Kaepernick will vote with their pocketbooks by buying Nike products.

        History will come down on the side of Mr. Kaepernick and Nike.

        Hugs, Gronda

        Liked by 2 people

        • Awesome, my friend!!! Only a few weeks ago did I replace my 5-year-old tennis shoes with a pair of Reeboks. I wish I had waited a few more weeks 😥 I cannot afford and don’t need another. But, there are Christmas gifts to start buying! I am surprised the ‘man’ in the Oval Office hasn’t had something to say yet … perhaps he was on the golf course and didn’t hear the announcement. 😉


          Liked by 2 people

      • I’m just overly wary of anything a company like Nike does. They have no trouble charging $400 for something it takes $10 to make, if that. They can afford to pay CK a nice bundle to use his name. But, for his sake, I hope I’m wrong. He doesn’t deserve to be kicked while he is down…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Frankly, I am wary of anything any big corporation does, whether it be Nike, P&G, or Eli Lilly. And it may well be that Nike is counting on people like myself and Gronda to toot their horns and start a wave of support. But, I like to think otherwise. Sigh.


          • All right, so I wasn’t going to touch this one, then my “social justice” conscience started pricking me so here goes. One: Nike is a massive Third World exploiter and oppressor of workers. You won’t find any labour unions in Nike sweat shops but plenty of human rights violations. Two: most, if not all, famous sports figures are whores of big business (exactly like your politicians) and endorse any who will give them to big bucks and high-flying lifestyle. Undeniable. So, is Kaepernick such a hero, or an attention seeker, another figurehead in that uniquely American celebrity worship circus? After he’s done making more big bucks from Nike, he can have someone write a book all about himself, make more big bucks at photo and signing ops. So he had (or somebody gave him an idea) and he bent a knee. Got him fired and notoriety, probably fully expected. An oppressor of Third World labourers signs him up banking and gambling upon his shooting star notoriety. His going along with it doesn’t exactly put him on par with Black heroes of desegregation violence. What next, run for Congress on Nike’s dime? Why not? Everybody else does it… Prove me wrong, Colin. Insist on looking inside the sweat shops run by Nike goons and the freedom (yes, key word: freedom) to expose what goes on there, then we’ll talk.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, I won’t argue with your assessment of Nike, though I still hold out the hope that perhaps at least on this one issue, they have developed a bit of a social conscience. But as for Kaepernick, I believe his is, if not a ‘hero’, depending on how you define that word, at least operating from a position of social conscience. He didn’t make a huge ruckus, hasn’t protested loudly. He quietly took a knee, and I very seriously doubt that he knew at that moment just how much of a wave his single action would make. Would he have done so anyway? Yeah, probably, but I don’t believe he is doing it for money, but because he is truly disturbed, as are many of us, by the racism and its results in this country. Just my take … I imagine time will tell.

              Liked by 1 person

  8. I fully support Mr Kaepernick, as does my active duty Army son, who IN UNIFORM at a football game (think it was the dallas team) took a knee right in the stands. NOT A SINGLE PERSON said a word to him about standing up. He ended up with four others kneeling next to him.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. I found this interesting..

    I have no problem with them taking a knee. I just wish their very appropriate issue of racism and killing unarmed blacks, didn’t fall on so many deaf ears.

    Racism is a huge problem and I don’t really know if this helps or hurts.

    VOTE VOTE VOTE. It’s all we can do to try and change things…to get people of a moral conscious in office, rather than trump supporting bigots.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Very interesting! Thanks! As to whether it hurts or helps, I don’t know, but I think it is important that it DOES bring the issue of racism and cops killing unarmed black men into the spotlight. Peaceful protest for just cause is never wrong, in my opinion. And yes, the vote is our strongest weapon, but there are others, such as activism, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I totally agree with you! I just read about Nike’s 30th Anniversary campaign. It features a close-up of Colin Kaepernick’s face with a caption across : “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” It would appear that a problem with the Nike and NFL business relationship may result from this advertising campaign. I think it may get quite interesting, some boycotting Nike vs. others becoming customers. This is bound to bring a tweet storm from Trump! My hat is off to Nike and I see Nike sneakers on the feet of my whole family! Thank-you!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Colin Kaepernick is a hero. His right to protest IS guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the United States and there is NO description of what is and what is not acceptable forms of protest.

    The NFL and the players not taking the knee with him are failing this whole country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are quite right … he is indeed a hero, much more so than those who are judging him. And I wonder, if the situation were reversed, if white players took a knee because of some injustice against Caucasians, how would that be received by the prez, the NFL and the public? There is, as always, a double standard.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, absolutely YES! In 1968 my anti-war brothers were bashed and beaten on the streets of Chicago because they cared enough to try to try to save me, an active GI, from Vietnam. They showed more patriotism than Congress, judges and sitting Presidents. Today is not different. That piece of cloth does not demand me to stand or salute. I most often do out of respect and honor to active military and veterans, but never out of obeisance to a country which deceived us in 1968 just as today. Nike will be to next receive trump’s wrath via Twitter. They have unveiled a campaign with Kaepernick to address racial violence. Can’t wait to see trump’s fat red face when he first views it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The story of your anti-war brothers gives me chills, even now. Like you, I have typically stood if in a venue where the anthem was being played, but today, I would take a knee (even though I would require help getting back up!). The flag is a symbol, and currently it is a symbol of something that I am not proud of. I somehow doubt that it will be again in my lifetime, which makes me sad. I just heard from Ellen about the Nike ad, and I give two thumbs up to the company for their courage, for you know there will be calls by many to boycott the company. I wish I hadn’t just replaced my old tennis shoes with a new pair of Reeboks, else I would go out tomorrow and buy a pair of Nikes!

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Judge Moore lied.

    Maybe he did not lie. Maybe he spoke out of ignorance of the law. And, for a judge, that is surely worse than lying.

    As for Kaepernick — I see what I did as patriotic. It was perhaps unwise, but it was a patriotic act. He wanted his country to do better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps, but as you say, it is even worse if he did not know the law. I am more inclined to believe he knew full well, but chose to interpret his own way, as he did when he was removed from the bench, not once but twice, for failure to uphold the law! The man is a prime example of an @##&^%!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Flags, etc. are used to great effect in a jingoistic oppressive manner. The bankers know how certain personalities are fired up by them. For me flags are an anathema …. It’s comparatively easy, to manipulate the populations. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Meanwhile, the networks which broadcast NFL games have quietly stopped televising the playing of the national anthem for the most part. It’s apparent that both the NFL and the networks want this controversy to silently go away. They are stuck between the legitimate rights of the players to protest and their own motive to keep ratings and profits high.

    Playing the national anthem at domestic sporting events was a very bad idea from the beginning. This tradition became entrenched in American culture as a way to reinforce patriotism during WWI and WWII. I think patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never understood why the anthem was played before sporting events, either. Just accepted it must have had purpose at some time or another, perhaps during WWII. Patriotism is one thing … one can love his country, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying to make it better, and it doesn’t mean that you love your country to the exclusion of others. We in the U.S. have a unique arrogance … or perhaps it isn’t unique, but it seems so to me.

      The NFL and team owners have, once again, put profit ahead of people, and I would love to see them get a comeuppance this time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • From:

        The earliest documented performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a baseball game took place at the Union Baseball and Cricket Grounds in Brooklyn, New York, on May 15, 1862. It was the park’s opening game, and over time, playing the song on the opening day of the baseball season became a more widespread practice.
        But singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before every game did not become commonplace until later.
        In 1889, Secretary of the Navy Benjamin F. Tracy signed an order directing that “The Star-Spangled Banner” be the official song to accompany any raising of the American flag by the Navy. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating it as the country’s national anthem for patriotic occasions. But that status didn’t become truly official until 1931, when Congress passed a measure that President Herbert Hoover signed into law.
        Historians typically point to one notable event when tracing the connection between the national anthem and sporting events: Game 1 of the 1918 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm …? I agree. Love of the environment that is our world, has little to do with imposed borders by “state”. Love for all, has little to do with waving flags. Borders are not recognized by the wealthy, as they move their gains to where they do not share with the rest of us. Then they want us to stand up and sing some stupid anthem? Cheers Jamie

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Why did the president of the country feel a need to involve himself to start with

    Why indeed! But this is the M.O. for this president. He simply is unable to restrain himself and must comment (usually through Twitter) on every little issue. Mostly the stuff he disagrees with, but he also gushes over everything and anything that makes him look good.

    Such class! Such dignity! Such a shining example of the leader of the Free World!

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Hear Hear, it’s shame some don’t appreciate a person’s rights purely based on his colour. Trump’s comments exacerbated the situation and it’s a shame this man can’t take action against Trump for depriving him of his livelihood.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is a shame, and … an obstruction to this nation … or any, for that matter … ever healing the rifts and learning to simply appreciate people for what/who they are. I just learned that Nike is featuring him in a new ad campaign, and I love it! If I hadn’t just bought that pair of shoes already …

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Trump and his followers will stop at nothing to prevent negative views of their ideology… quiet any opposition before it gets too large… it has been done many times in history’s past all over the world… 🙂

    “Never be bullied into silence, never allow yourself to be made a victim, accept no one’s definition of your life, define yourself”… Robert Frost

    Liked by 4 people

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