When they deflect, re-direct! Reclaiming the American spirit of the NFL protest
We’re inside the fifth week of the 2017 NFL season and we’ve somehow forgotten about how Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest began. Worst yet, it seems that the narrative has been successfully hijacked by the fake patriots rampant in white America. Let’s be clear, police brutality is not a white nor black issue. It’s an American issue, but blacks are attacked and killed by police in more disparate numbers than others. That’s the reason Colin Kaepernick took a knee last year.
Fast-forward to this season, he’s an unemployed quarterback with no return to the field in his imminent future. Kaep’s friends and colleagues continue in solidarity by taking a knee or raising a fist during the national anthem before games. Kaep also took issue with one of the stanzas of the poem which was later converted to a poem and ultimately adopted as this nation’s anthem of representation.
What began as an initiative to draw attention to a cause has been hijacked by those that are unwilling to see change. That’s the nice way to call them racists. Worse than being accused of being a racist is stripping away this nation’s legacy of democracy. The NFL is paid for its patriotic demonstration before games but teams and NFL brass seemingly have the latitude to force players and coaches to stand during the national anthem.
Protest deflectors have risen with so much rancor that they in turn have boycotted the NFL for actually supporting and not punishing protesters. Weird how that works, isn’t it? But wouldn’t it make more sense to actually work to end what is the cause of the problem in the first place? If we could unite for the cause of ending or at least curtailing unchecked police brutality, the need for protesting would actually go away. Just weeks ago, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made news by kneeling with his players before the game against the Arizona Cardinals. Jones again made news this week by successfully deflecting his Cowboy’s abismal start to the season by threatening to bench any player not standing for the anthem.
What has been lost on nearly every American is the fact that the poem was written during the war of 1812 in which slaves fought on both sides of the war. Slaves fought with Britain to overthrow the budding country and ultimately win their freedom. Apologists for Key suggest that those were the slaves referenced in that stanza. Still, when the constitution was drafted and later signed into law, it held the premise that “…all men are created equal…” except the slaves kept by the signers.
From its inception, this country has been flawed. Furthermore, this country has never atoned for what will ever be known as the greatest human rights atrocity in history. Ill treatment of blacks continued as the nation progressed, too. Many have never heard of Black Wall Street in Tulsa,Oklahoma. But events like the destruction of the Greenwood suburb of Tulsa wiped out a thriving economic center of black America in the south. To this date, nothing like it exists, a credit to the pervasive systemic racism that maligns every functioning system in America.
So, when “privileged” athletes who are millionaires decided to shed light on a cause, it’s commendable. In fact, protest is the real “American Way”. We may not have these United States of America without some level of protest. When citizens disagree with policy, they can protest. We still have that right. When citizens took aim at corporate greed, they did so with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The movement wasn’t perfect and while it physically didn’t last long, the conversation has. It was even a part of the 2016 Presidential race and became a talking point for candidates in the primaries and the official vote that ushered in the Presidency of Donald Trump. The Boston Tea Party? Another form of Protest. In fact, in its 2011 Top 10 American Protest Movements, Time Magazine listed it first.
Years later, those protests signify American progress and are heralded as turning points in American history, seldom viewed with the optics of opposition! If history has proven nothing else, it’s proven that opposition nor deflection can withstand steadfast movement. The truth about the deflection is that it’s simply more convenient to fault the protesters for something than to actually take a serious look at their cause. Meanwhile, police killings and brutality have continued while many of those taking issue with flag disrespect remain mum on the issue at hand.
So to that I say again: “When they deflect, re-direct!” We can’t be drawn offsides by disrespect, dismissiveness or dissension of what ails other American citizens. We won’t bow to corporate bullying in order to save face or preserve convenience. This is high time for disruption, it’s the American way!