There are many things in life that can also be interpreted differently depending on where one lays emphasis and the perspective from which one views things. Take for instance this sentence and its backstory: The Gall of Kaepernick. How did you interpret that sentence? Depending on where you lay the emphasis, I could either be questioning the audacity of a multimillionaire NFL player to refuse to stand for the National Anthem or I could be applauding the courage and tenacity of a man who is certainly laying his career and a significant source of income on the line to speak up against racial injustice.
By the same token, our perspectives can cause us to focus on the appearance of disrespect to our revered anthem or we can be disturbed by the senseless and needless deaths of too many African Americans at the hands of those who are sown to protect and serve. You could be moved by the overall growing sense of hopelessness and despair plaguing certain segments of our nation as unarmed Blacks are killed by law enforcement.
To recap, Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers has been drawing strong criticsm from many and especially the ire of the members of law enforcement since his decision to sit (or kneel) during the national anthem. His decision has been exacerbated (in some minds) by the images of the socks he has worn during practice which depict pigs in police uniforms.
But many, including veterans, have also come out in support of Kaepernick, his right to protest peacefully, and the issues that he has indicated led to his decision. “There are a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality. There are people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards, he said, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.
So, what offends you more? What drives you to action? The senseless killings by law enforcers, the hopelessness and the accompanying disregard for life in so many of our inner cities or a young man choosing to take a stand and draw attention to the racial injustice in our nation by exercising his constitutional right to peaceful protest? In a nation that was founded after revolting against the monarchy of Britain, that still celebrates the Boston Tea Party, that prides itself as the model of the free world, why is Kaepernick’s form of protest so unacceptable to so many so much so that his jerseys have been burned (he now has the #1 selling jersey), there have been calls for him to be fired, his life has been threatened and he has been told to leave the country?
And while we ponder that question, exactly what form of protest would you recommend to Mr. Kaepernick that will bring his issues to the limelight, have most of the country taking a side one way or the other and stir up the resolve of so many to join in and be part of the solution rather than sitting by the sidelines?
Protest, by its very definition, is to show or express strong disapproval of something at a public event with other people. Learners Dictionary describes protest as: to say something that other people do not agree with or believe in a forceful way. In other words, because Kaepernick meant his actions as a protest, he was bound to upset some people.
Some have asked why he didn’t use another form of protest. Pray, tell, what form of protest to get his point across would have worked for you? If he has to ensure that he does not displease anyone with his protest, then, is it really a protest?
Many have suggested that as a millionaire, he has nothing to protest. Perhaps, those critics will be well served to read the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral conflict.”
As the number of homicides in Chicago hits an all-time high, as states invest more in the prison industry than in schools, as the number of unarmed African Americans killed by police officers continues to rise with virtually no consequences, will you be part of the solution or just part of the chorus squelching his right to peaceful civil disobedience?
The gall of Colin Kaepernick; the gall.
Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. She welcomes your questions and comments. For more information, visit www.ayaeneli.com, follow her on twitter @ayaeneli or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.