I have never been a fan of Colin Kaepernick, but I do respect his courage for supporting the Black Lives Matter cause. Sports are supposed to be played in front of fans and the NFL owners have made millions off obscure tax breaks associated with the construction of NFL stadiums, and allowing them to write off nearly all of the purchase price of their teams against profits over time, but it is wrong to give tax breaks to billionaires. An unprecedented week in the NFL culminated in a landscape-shifting 24 hours that appears to have dramatically changed the league’s stance on player protests. Last night Roger Goodell the current Commissioner of the National Football League said, “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.”
Most people including me didn’t want to hear Colin Kaepernick’s message and I twisted it into him being disrespectful against the National Anthem, because I was always taught to respect the flag and our country from my dad who served in WWII. I felt that Colin had the right to protest, but he was doing it at the wrong time. I never walked a mile in his shoes, so I did not understand his suffering and although I have never been prejudiced, I am not an expert on racism or social injustice. Drew Brees the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints apologized for some of his remarks which he felt were insensitive after taking flack from critics and Emmanuel Acho a former NFL linebacker launched a video titled “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”, which got a lot of views.
If the NFL changes the rules and allows kneeling during the national anthem, I will support it as a way of bringing our country together, because I have never seen it this divided before. I guess Colin Kaepernick will be allowed back into the NFL, but I won’t be cheering for him. I may be a privileged white person, one that does not understand what it means to be black, but I have never met a black person that I didn’t like, except the guy who sucker punched me and gave me a black eye. I worked in Engineering most of my life and all the black people that I met were professionals, so in my sheltered life, the plight of the black people that have been persecuted for so long has been mostly hidden from me.
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is fan.