Formerly-marketable San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, chose not to stand during the national anthem prior to an NFL preseason game. It was a gesture to illuminate the racial inequalities in America.
The 49ers delivered a very measured response to Kaepernick's gesture. The NFL's official statement was also quite plain, "players are encouraged, but not required, to stand during the national anthem."
And that was the last anyone heard of—oh, right, fragile, bloated football racists can't interpret any act of defiance to Americana as anything but an attack on dad, Fido, democracy, and their ninth-grade schooling on FREEDOM.
\\\ The NFL wants all of your money.
The NFL will not side with any stance that could compromise the possibility of extracting your cash. They want as much of your money as possible. They want all of your money. They want a product they can sell to as many human beings on the planet as they can. The NFL is out of touch with any societal issues because at the moment, it isn't a sure bet they'd make any extra money, if they were in touch.
Appealing to military families, cancer foundations, and truck manufacturers is a very sure bet.
Supporting Colin Kaepernick's declaration that a national, racist institution specifically targets black Americans does not make the NFL money. It doesn't matter if Kaepernick's teammates have come out to support him. It doesn't matter if a number of black newscasters have come out to support him.
It doesn't matter that anyone who disagrees with Kaepernick is doing precisely what he intended, which is talking about how racist Americans can be, particularly in, say, football-centric states.
The NFL only wants your money and your loyalty. The moment it's more profitable to openly side with the non-racist majority, and that time is coming ever-so slowly as the arc of history bends toward justice, you will be left behind, alone, in a seemingly-unrecognizable world.
\\ How come Colin Kaepernick has the right to say these things?
Listen, this is America, Jack. That means if a person, black or white, wants to put up his feet, keep his hat on his head, and say that there's anti-black racists in positions of power while the Star Spangled Banner plays in the background, he can do that. And it's not even illegal. In fact, it's encouraged. It's how your country grows stronger.
It's how you include more people in the species' progression into the future, not just white folks.
Critics of Kaepernick's gesture—who are, at best, micro-racist, and at worst, fragile-white nationalists—interpret any attack against their institution as not only incorrect, but launched in the wrong venue. An attack channeled through the lens of football is heinous.
Football is football. Football is purity. God loves football. Football is a sure thing. In the scorpion-crawled mind-jungles of these racist critics of Kaepernick, football exists in a vacuum, removed from all non-sanctioned football thought.
Because the NFL has made it this way: so antiseptic that any moron could eat dinner off the floor of the NFL's public image.
Kaepernick has the right to say these things because he has a platform to do so. Are you mad you don't have that platform? Are you upset you don't get on ESPN when you say something counter to the status quo? Kaepernick's opinion technically isn't any more powerful than any other American's: he just has a larger loudspeaker than you do, and he's gonna use the thing.
And, hey, racists, if you want one of them loudspeakers, you can devote your entire life to football, build the talent, and the station, and the lifelong game-knowledge, and go to a Super Bowl, and BE BLACK—and then you might be a person worth listening to when it comes to the topic of race relations in modern America.
\ Why do people hate Colin Kaepernick, exactly?
Because he points at the obvious cruelty that a white man feels horrified to fathom his lineage may have perpetuated.
Realistically speaking, it's not your fault. It's okay to admit that it's wrong the way police often mistreat minorities. It's okay to realize you didn't create this massive, disadvantaged system. It's okay to be frustrated by the fact a black sports celebrity with more money you can comprehend is earning air-time for literally criticizing America, the country with, like, the COOLEST fighter jets and best iPhones, man.
(Nobody bring up the fact America's internet service is deliberately horrible, or its schools are dwindling in comparison to the rest of the world, or—)
Don't hate Colin Kaepernick. Hate the system that taught you to hate. Hate the institution that left the rich in power for so long that they could exact their station, and their thinking over you, be you white, black, rich, poor, or otherwise.
Kaepernick's opponents have been taught to recognize and demand continuity from the status quo—taught in this case by the NFL. The NFL wants a consistent product they can sell to billions of people. They want you to believe what is palatable to as broad an audience as possible at this time.
At this time, idle DEBATE is the status quo. The NFL teaches that: permitting both sides to hash out, whether, hey, maybe it's a good idea to criticize America's ongoing institutionalized targeting of black and minority citizens? That's why you get idiots spitting venom back at a black man with station and a captive audience.
The moment it's not profitable to perpetuate marketing and image to that base, the NFL, and Kaepernick's critics—and critics of other black athletes—will point at you, and call you the racist that you are.
Because you believed the NFL was anything more than a money-making machine capitalizing on a moment in time.