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Kapernick Struck a Chord (By Dr. Emmett Gill)

Colin Kapernick’s silent, non-violent protest has struck an international cord; a cord so complex that some still cannot quite grasp Mr. Kapernick’s perspective. While we live in one of the greatest countries on Earth we are far from perfect. I mean America paid Iran billions before it paid a dime towards its debt to its own people of color. Georgetown is willing to pay down their debt to the descendants of slaves however America wants people of color to forgive AND forget. We do forgiving, but it's the forgetting that I have a problem with. Times have changed, even though it’s important to remember that America was largely built via oppression.


Colin Kapernick, in the midst of a battle to earn a starting quarterback job, was on point when he declared that there are oppressive forces, real or imagined, in our United States. Oh my, the contradictory nature of our country’s name. Yes, innocent White people are killed in police involved shootings, but people of color seem to be more likely to meet this type of demise. Yes, White people receive unfair prison sentences, but again, people of color are more likely to face this unfortunate circumstance.


The United States was created, and designed, on the premise that one group excels at the expense of another - which is the fundamental tenant of oppression.


The national anthem symbolizes, and is intricately associated with, the people who protect our country. I understand. The anthem began to be played at sporting events in times of war to honor the military, including the many ball players who were also soldiers. Athletes who competed back in the day protected foreign and domestic soil. On domestic soil athletes protect us in a different way; for what would we do without sports? Some athletes like Sam Huff are dying, or have, entertaining us. Now I am not saying that athletes are more critical to our country than the military. Nonetheless, athletes and soldiers are similar in a variety of ways.


Going back to the origin of the anthem, it was played at sporting events that included Black soldiers and athletes who were disrespected by their own country because they returned to segregation, racism and other social injustices. The residual effects of that disrespect remains, maybe to a lesser extent, but nonetheless the social injustices are omnipresent.


Kapernick has done an outstanding job of creating international dialogue. And now that he has dropped a million dollars and donated the proceeds of jersey sales, he could be single handily changing athlete activism. Is Colin the modern day Juan Carlos and Tommy Smith? No disrespect to brothers Smith and Carlos. Kapernick is also motivating other athletes across teams, sports, and sexual orientations to stage non-violent protest and initiate dialogue. The way those in opposition have reacted, "shut up and play ball bi-racial boy"… exemplifies the one type of oppression that Kapernick professes exists. Judging from the backlash, Kapernick has struck a cord and I think America will be better because of Colin.

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