When quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit for the National Anthem in order to send a message I defended him. I thought he was stupid and misguided, but I defended him on the grounds that the Constitution protects all viewpoints, even those we disagree with. I said people should calm down and let the marketplace sort this out; meaning if the overpaid athlete wanted to take a stand by taking a seat, then people had the right to stop buying his jersey or tickets to his games or any product he endorses. That’s how freedom works.
Then something hit me. Kaepernick is conducting his protest at work and on the clock. I know we view the NFL as this fun, amazing, wham bam pastime we glue ourselves to on Sunday, but it is a business and when you play for a team, that is your job. In his case, a job he is paid millions to perform. Putting aside whether you agree with his message or not or think this is his constitutional right, the reality is he is conducting a protest at work on his boss’s time and dime. Could you do that? I sincerely doubt it.
Tell you what, let’s find out. Pick an issue, any issue. OK I’ll pick one for you: “Save the Rainforest”, that sounds like a good one. Now tomorrow I want you to go to work and instead of doing your job I want you to start passing out “Save the Rainforest” literature not just to the guy sitting in the next cubicle but to customers as well. Perhaps you could email some coworkers on the company account your thoughts on the matter, or better yet, every morning at 10 a.m. announce to the office that you’ll be stopping your work for a moment of silence. How would that sit with the boss? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
I honestly don’t have a problem with any athlete or celebrity or your crazy Aunt Ruth for that matter taking a stand on any issue that strikes a chord with them. This is America, more power to you. But maybe you shouldn’t be doing it when you are at work. Football is a team sport, and when he drops to a knee or takes that seat, he is putting his personal agenda ahead of the team and disrespecting the people who pay him to show up. Practice hard and play football. That’s the job. The one he signed up for. He is more than welcome to quit and start a foundation for racial justice or march with a sign outside police headquarters on his off days. I’d be more impressed if he did that rather than be such a negative distraction to his team.
One last thing. I heard Kaepernick say today that there are racist police officers in the San Francisco department. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I do know for certain that roughly 80 police officers are assigned to keep the peace and protect those highly paid players, including Kaepernick, at every home football game. How do you accept someone’s protection and insult them at the same time?
Maybe someone should ask Colin that when the anthem is over and he stands up.