Colin Kapenick's True Color's Are Not Red White and Blue

An African American friend of mine took offense at an earlier Samson's Jawbone post that I wrote in which I declared that Colin Kapernick's 2017 organized protest on football fields across America was anti-American and egotistical, that it had nothing to do with police brutality. My friend did not accuse me of racism just of being insensitive to the realities modern African American's face. The plethora of shooting (which by the way have ended under the Trump Presidency) of black's by police I argued had nothing to do with Colin Kapernik's protest, and this week he proved it. 

My argument to my friend was that we knew Kapernik's motivation because of the venue he chose for it. Back in the 1970's many environmental groups protested what was then the growth of nuclear power, not one of those group chose to protest at a hydro-electric dam, not one of them went to a coal powered plant, the protest's took place at nuclear facilities. The venue created the milieu in which the protest was set. When Dr. Martin Luther King chose to highlight the rights that were being denied to African American citizens of his generation, he chose to speak at the Lincoln  Memorial. At the place that immortalized the Emancipation Proclamation the great war and struggle this country had fought. Several years ago when a group of people wanted to protest what they called "income inequality" they went and "occupied Walstreet" the place where the American economy is centered.

Does anyone think that their is any accident that Kapernik's protest took place at the opening ceremonies of NFL football games when the national anthem was sung? If he had truly been protesting the police shooting of black men why not protest in one of cities where the shooting had taken place, why not Ferguson Missouri, or Lincoln Park in Chicago, or the Waterfront in Baltimore? When I pointed this out to my African American friend he argued that Kapernik, had not intended to disparage the country, but then my friend told me that Kapernik chose to protest when he did, because the anthem promoted racism. He said that because there was a reference to "slavery" in the 3d verse of the anthem; that it was racist. Cops  he said shot more black men than white (a factually wrong statement) because the country was racists at its core, and the Anthem represented that.

I then asked him which football team had ever sung the 3d verse of the national anthem at the start of the game. Had he had ever heard anyone in any public venue sing the 3d verse?

"Well no," I haven't.

Then I asked him if he knew who the slaves were the 3d verse referred to.

"Well no," I don't really.

I asked him if he knew what the anthem was about.

"Yeah, it's about some battle... I think in the Revolutionary War?"

"No," I said, "It is a ballad about the battle Fort Mc Henry  during the War of 1812?"

When I explained that slavery had nothing to do with it. He said oh yes it did, because a group of slaves the escaped from the US had gone to England and joined the British Army and fought in the war. 

In other word, he was assuming that  the the War of 1812 was an attempt by the British to end slavery in the US. I informed him that the slave trade, the transportation and sale of slaves,  ended in Britian with the Slave Trade Act of 1807, but slavery continued to be practiced until July of 1833. So at the time of the War of 1812 though slaves could not be transported, the practice of slavery was alive and well in the British Colonies, so that could not have been the reason for the War. "Well I really don't know what the war was about, " he admitted.

I advised him that British ships were capturing American military and merchant ships on the high seas and enslaving their crews in service to the British Navy. The Star Spangled banner is a ballad that recounts the battle to defend our existence as a nation. The third verse was about those captured American sailor some of whom had been recommissioned into the British navy:


And where is that band who so vauntingly sworeThat the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,A home and a country, should leave us no more?Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.No refuge could save the hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

"No refuge could save the hireling [mercenary sailor] and slave [the captive]." It is a reference to those sailors, some who were American, trapped in the belly of the British ships that had no place to go. It is not a defense of slavery. 

I asserted that Kapernik  did not really know the significance of those words, but had chosen the occasion of singing of the nation anthem because he believed the country our anthem and our symbols were about "white privilege." My friend disagreed but I believe events of the last week have proved me right.

Nike was set to release a tennis shoe on the 4th of July with the famous Betsy Ross flag on them, but pulled them because Kapernik objected. Kapernik argued that the Betsy Ross flag was a symbol of slavery. Once again showing his ignorance of history. Betsy Ross was a Quaker. She was an abolitionist, who opposed slavery. She did not accept Washington's design of a flag, which one might have argued was pro-slavery since he owned slaves, but she talked him into accepting her design. It was clear the Kapernik's choice to object to the product had nothing to do with police shootings. He chose to projected his anger about slavery, which he never experienced, onto what is symbol of liberty. He objeced to the shoe because of his contempt for America. Nike pulled the shoes showing their agreement with his sentiment. 

All this happened during the Women's Soccer World Cup where Megan Rapinoe, the star player and team captain, refused to stand for the National Anthem, refused to put her hand over her heart, declined an invitation to the White House (even though none had been offered) and  spoke pejoratively of the President. Aren't they free to state their opinion?

When sports personalities are hired to represent a team, they represent the people of the city, and the represent the city and country where the team is home. Their equipment, their salary, their coaching staff are all part projections of that culture and its values. When they are wearing the uniform and at a team event in that capacity they speaks not  for themselves but for the country. When shes say "f#&*$... the White House," when he "kneels" during the anthem, they disparage and diminish themselves, the country and they disgrace their employer, and every American citizen. They turn what should be a celebration of their own success and accomplishment to execrate the fans and the game. 

Rapinoe, Kapernik and Nike would be well to remember that though they argue they are not disparaging the fans, the drop in viewer ship of the NFL shows that fans understood perfectly the message, because of the venue where it was held. Rapinoe is the face of a growing sport, but if she continues down this road she will destroy the sport. It will decline to an audience somewhere  nearly equivalent to watching Battle bots. The fact is that Rapinoe and Kapernik have the success that they have and are able to play the sport they play for the amount of money they make because of the very things the  National Anthem, the flag and the White House represent, regardless of whom the President may be.  No one expects them to embrace every occupant of the White House, but in their role as representatives of the country it is their responsibility to celebrate not only their victory but the values of the country as represented in its symbols. 

I have never watched women's soccer; Rapinoe did nothing to win my attention and favor for the sport rather she turned me away.  It is evident that Colin Kapernik's true colors are not Red White and Blue. Kapernik will never have another job in professional sports in the US. He does not deserve one, regardless of his ability. Rapinoe should lose her job, but that won't happen. Instead, sadly she will be allowed to destroy the sport, because she lives in a country that gives her the freedom to self destruct. 

Ours is the only national anthem that ends with a question: "Does that star spangled banner still wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave?" The sad thing about these two is they believe it never did. They are not our finest and should not represent us. They should never play professional sports again. Any time they are on the field they disgrace everything American sports is about, because they are a disgrace. 

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