Monday, August 29, 2016

The Kaepernick Kerfuffle

Yes, I confess, I had to check the spelling of his name!

And the other word – if you don’t know it, look it up, it’s a good word.

Colin Kaepernick is an NFL quarterback – for the San Francisco 49ers (for those who know what he does but not whom he does it for).  He has drawn attention to himself lately, by not standing for the singing of the National Anthem at a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers.  And it seems that everyone is weighing in with his 2¢ worth.

So, here is my 2¢ worth.

Did he break a law?


Should his action have been against the law?

No, as he was exercising his right of free speech (yes, some actions are considered “speech”), a right that we hold very dearly in this land.  There are few things more precious to Americans than those rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Did he disrespect the flag, or the country, or his team, or the fans?

Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t.  But consider: if you agreed with what he was saying – that America does not respect black folks (and I agree with him) – then maybe you think he was not disrespecting anything; and maybe if you disagree with his point of view, you also think that he was being disrespectful.  As for me, I don’t care if he was being disrespectful.  I care only if he broke the law or committed an act that ought to be against the law.

We have reached the point where it is even legal to burn the American flag, a disrespectful act if ever there was one.  But it is legal as it is an expression of a belief and therefore protected and legal.  Of course, there are consequences, like maybe losing a few friends, like maybe getting beat up (an illegal consequence that is not excused under the law).

And perhaps he will be traded (he had asked to be traded earlier this year) – maybe he will be traded for his action.  But as long as the 49ers and the NFL are not in any way an arm of the government (under the law, the government cannot discriminate the way a private corporation may), the team’s management is free to trade (or fire) him for any or no reason at all.  But I gotta tell you: if the team management thinks he is worth the money and delivering for the team, they may gnash their teeth over his behavior but they will not fire him.

For those of you who think that I am patting myself on the back for being superior to all of you ordinary mortals who care about such inconsequential things, let me assure you, I am not guilty of being superior.  As a matter of fact, I happen to “disrespect” Colin Kaepernick for all his damned tattoos!  I am a white guy who was brought up before the age of tattoos everywhere, so sue me!  I have already rooted for the “other team” because of his tattoos.  But if I were the owner of an NFL team, I would never let my stupid prejudice stand in the way of hiring the guy if he were a good enough ball-player who was worth the money (he’s not the best QB in the NFL by far, but he is among the 10 best in the league, and he is young, and he will in all likelihood get even better).

Why this essay?  If you or any American really spends more than five minutes on this kind of issue, you are misusing the brain that the good Lord gave you.  Get a life!

Addendum: Saturday, 09/03/2016
Kaepernick is exercising his right of free speech.  The Santa Clara Police who provide some 70 police to work home games, are threatening to boycott the team unless they punish Kaepernick.  Individually, if their contractual responsibilities as police allows them to, why then God bless.  But I wonder if a police officer can refuse to do what he is told to do by his own management.  On the other hand, if the police union is threatening a  boycott, the team should sue them as they are without doubt in breach of contract.  As to their reason, "The board of directors of the Santa Clara Police Officer’s Association has a duty to protect its members and work to make all of their working environments free of harassing behavior."  Bull turkey!