Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem was not in protest of oppression of colored people or racism or police brutality. He did it because he was about to be cut from the team and needed a way to save his job. He used a platform that would rally people behind him essentially forcing the teams hand into keeping him, lest they be called racists. The support and backlash were swift. Everybody going to their respective corners to either hail him a hero, or to vilify him. Why?
It’s pretty simple really, sports are the sacred cow of the United States. It is the one place where people from all walks of life can come together and be united regardless of race, politics, sexual orientation or any of that crap. Spring brings us baseball and conclude hockey and basketball. Summer, we have baseball, or some towns start getting pumped up for the fall. The fall is when the magic happens, for football is here. In the US, football is king. 17 weeks of regular season games followed by 4 rounds of playoffs to determine the best of the best. It truly is a magical time, it is the only major sport where every single game actually has an impact on the season from start to finish. It is the only major sport where you get one chance in the playoffs, win or go home. We as Americans cherish this time.
What Kaepernick did was interject a social movement into a place where it didn’t belong. Much like the hollywood shit show that has been hitting the silver screen, where entertainment has taken a back seat to politics, people are now worried that their last bastion of sanity away from the madness that is the real world. For 4 hours, or more depending on if you play fantasy football, people can escape all the problems of the world. There is no famine, no pestilence, no racism, no SJW’s trying to ruin all of the fun. Nope, none of that, there is just football, my team versus yours. We can talk trash, and laugh about it, yell irrationally at the television as if we can make a difference and scare the hell out of our pets, and we are not judged for it.
What Kaepernick and those who are following in his footsteps have done, has taken that away from us. This is seen by the 33% drop in ratings for the NFL this year, people will look to find another outlet. The athletes who have tried to use a little “common sense” have all been deemed “Uncle Tom’s” or “traitors” to the cause. The political and social division in this country has no began to eat away at one of the last things that holds us all together. I am okay with players having opinions, and political leanings, and anybody who is not okay with that is a fool to think so. What I am not okay with, is those guys who make millions of dollars off of the fans who will only make a fraction of that in their lives, and proceeding to tell them that they should change the way they think.
The athletes are paid to entertain. Off the field they may do as they please, be politically active as they please, say as they please. On the field, they just need to shut up and entertain those of us who work to literally just put food on the table. Shut up, and provide us a sanctuary from reality for 4 hours. Because it is those 4 hours that entire communities cling to, it is those 4 hours that bring everyone together, under one roof and truly unites us. For just 4 hours a week and a total of 21 weeks a year, even in an election year, lets just transcend our society into something beautiful. Lets remind ourselves that we can be better than we show when the real world comes knocking. I am not calling on any league to do anything about this, but the players themselves. Shut up, play the game and then on Tuesday you can make your statements.