The civil rights activist group Color of Change has launched on online petition to get the public on the side of the #TakeTheKnee movement once and for all. And they’re enlisting the help of current and former NFL players to drive their point home. But what exactly is their point? We can take a look at the actual petition to find out, and it all has to do with making sure that Colin Kaepernick isn’t being “silenced.” (Feel free to pause for a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor before clicking on the link.)
Today the national racial justice group Color Of Change is partnering with media company ATTN: and three San Francisco 49ers players on a video supporting Colin Kaepernick and the #TakeTheKnee protests.
Featuring players Eric Reid, Marquise Goodwin, and Dontae Johnson, the video shows how Kaepernick’s protests are grounded in a vision of racial and social justice, contrary to the way they’re portrayed by his detractors.
“Colin Kaepernick is exhibiting the very best of what has moved this country forward—a willingness to stand up for justice,” says Rashad Robinson, Color Of Change’s Executive Director. “He has put his career on the line to promote social justice for people of color, calling out systemic inequalities that go beyond the NFL. This is a model of public service that we should be lifting up, not silencing. History will tell the story of those who stood silent in the face of injustice and those who aided it by seeking to silence the truth tellers.”
“Silencing?” Excuse me, but I’ve been following this controversy fairly closely from the beginning and I don’t see anyone “silencing” Colin Kaepernick. In fact, I don’t think the guy has stopped talking since last Thanksgiving.
So here are the NFL stars jumping on this bandwagon for those of you keeping tabs on your own teams’ track records. In addition to Eric Reid, Marquise Goodwin, and Dontae Johnson (all with the 49ers), we have:
- Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Torrey Smith, and Rodney McLeod (Philadelphia Eagles)
- Anquan Boldin (Buffalo Bills)
- Brendon Ayanbadejeo (Retired. Played with the Dolphins, Bears and Ravens)
- Chris Kluwe (Retired. Played with the Seahawks, Vikings and Raiders)
So who in this group (or any others) is being silenced? Reid was just given a major spread in the New York Times to discuss the issue. ESPN and CNN are both having to give these players free Five Hour Energy drinks to keep them awake at the microphone after all the interviews they’ve been doing. Seriously, folks… at this point there have been enough people yelling to #TakeTheKnee that Daenerys Targaryen is getting sick of hearing it.
Much of the subject at hand has to do with lethal force encounters between law enforcement and black subjects. Do they think that their message isn’t getting out there? There are already riots in the streets on a regular basis (literally) and nearly every celebrity in Hollywood is taking up the cause. Despite the fact that police still shoot more white suspects than black suspects (though the per capita numbers give the edge in the other direction) and that the FBI reports that only 16 of 233 black suspects shot by police in 2016 were unarmed, it remains a divisive topic which gets more air time on cable news and in the nation’s newspapers than virtually any of the other “social justice” issues. Are you really under the impression that the subject is being ignored?
In the end, both the singular focus on Colin Kaepernick and the broader issue he raises are being played up here on bogus premises. Kaepernick isn’t being silenced and the only reason he’s not in a starting lineup right now is that he was a mediocre player in his final year whose skills weren’t massive enough to counteract all the negative press he attracted. (Well, that and the fact that even the Jets haven’t gotten that desperate yet.) And I’ve yet to hear from one person who thinks NFL players shouldn’t be able to freely address the issues of the day. They just don’t want to have their Sunday football watching ruined with politics. As mentioned above, all of these players have a vast megaphone available to them every moment they’re not on the field.
Please, people. Just give it a break and get back to playing ball.