Archive: 01/2018

To Kneel or Not to Kneel… That Is the Paradox

by A’Jamal-Rashad Byndon

The National Football League (NFL) is at a major crossroads in terms of how it addresses the Colin Kaepernick dilemma. For those who have not being following this controversial and polarizing situation, it all started last year when Kaepernick—the former San Francisco quarterback—decided to sit, and subsequently kneel, during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Many fans, military supporters and law-enforcement officials felt it was disrespectful to those who served or gave their lives to defend this country for an athlete to insert politics into sports. These folks appear to suffer from a social and historical amnesia. Almost 50 years ago, Gold Medal runner John Carlos gave the Black Power fist salute during the national anthem at the summer Olympics in Mexico City in 1968. Muhammad Ali, who refused to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, is another example of athletes protesting social conditions and unjust wars.

But when Kaepernick, who led his team to the 2013 Super Bowl, became a free agent, even NFL teams like Houston, that had lost its star quarterback Deshaun Watson to a season-ending injury, refused to pick him up. The man had become a pariah, merely for attempting to bring attention to the many African Americans who have lost their lives in questionable circumstances to police officers and racist predation agents of the system. (And, no, the police, military and other government agents are not protecting any African Americans’ rights or freedom unless they afford us the same rights that they themselves enjoy in this system.)

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