Would you watch the NFL every Sunday if they got rid of touchdowns, field goals, and safeties? Would anyone tune in to weekly football if they refused to keep score anymore and just had players run around on the field hitting each other in full pads for sixty minutes?
Maybe for a quick minute.
But after a while, it would get boring with no final scores, no winners, no losers, no competition except to see who’s most brutal. Without an endgame, athletics are much less interesting.
Colin Kaepernick should know this – he’s an excellent athlete.
Yet here we are in season two of his protest, and as far as I can tell, no one has a clue anymore as to why he’s doing it. I remember hearing something about police brutality in the beginning, but at this point when you read the news stories covering this, you’d think the man is risking his brief chance to make millions in order to ban the national anthem during games. Or to show that because of the first amendment he’s allowed to do something different from the rest of us in front of our sacred flag.
And understandably, people are pushing back.
We Americans like our flag and our anthem, and we’re not fond of anyone who we feel is insulting them. We’re at the point now where at least one team owner is telling his players to stand during the anthem or sit during the game. And that’s going to push a lot of men to have to make a critical, career affecting decision, and I don’t think that’s what we want out of this protest.
So what’s your endgame, Colin?
What results do your protesters want as a result of disrupting our games, our song, our peace?
When Rosa Parks refused to step to the back of the bus, we knew her endgame – kill this ridiculously racist law. When brave souls forced themselves into whites-only schools and diners, we knew their endgame – kill this separate but equal bunk. Finally, our country passed the much-needed civil rights laws, and we saw no more Rosas or sit-ins.
But Colin, with all due respect, you don’t seem to have an endgame.
I’m a white guy, but I’m also progressive, so I don’t want to step on either sets of toes here, but I feel the need to offer a suggestion. How about this – we schedule a national conference on American Race Relations to take place a week or two after the Super Bowl (or even better, during the SB week). We finally have a 21st century sit down between black leaders and white leaders, athletes and team owners, police leaders and victims of police abuse, musicians and politicians, anyone who has something important that needs to be said and heard about what we can do better between races in this country.
We can make it a festival, too, if you like.
Food and music from every part of the American melting pot, rides and cotton candy, whatever makes this necessary pill go down sweeter can happen at this shindig, or house party, or whatever racially sensitive moniker we decide to give it.
A national conversation regarding race relations has been necessary for some time now, so perhaps, Colin, you could make this your endgame. What if the minute this America Race Relations event is solid, meaning the date is set, the venue is booked, the leaders and speakers have committed to being there, then could we put a hold on this kneeling thing? Then would you feel that your protest has gained your people something?
Because without an endgame, Colin, I’m afraid you’re losing us. The thought of players forever kneeling instead of standing before games is what is getting the rest of us upset. The fact that you can’t wear a sign or some type of explanation as to why you’re actually kneeling doesn’t help, I’m sure. It’s the reason that to many people you look like an ungrateful millionaire who hates our flag, not a patriot who is fighting for the equal rights of his people.
So have an endgame, Colin, and make both sides happy.
With a 2018 American Race Relations Conference next February, you and your other brave kneelers can stand proudly for the rest of the season knowing you’ll have won an important victory for POC in this country. We’ll finally have to address the main issue you’re kneeling for, and we can leave the flag and anthem out of it.
- Mike Lukas
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