What if we would’ve listened to Colin Kaepernick?

By Demetrius Carrington

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Back on August 14th of 2016, Colin Kaepernick began his peaceful protest against police brutality. At first he was sitting during the national anthem, but after a meeting with retired Green Beret Nate Boyer it was agreed that taking a knee was the respectful thing to do because that was a salute “in honor of the fallen.”

When asked about his protest, this is what he had to say, “The sole purpose of kneeling during the national anthem is not to disrespect the military personnel at all, but to use my platform to bring attention to police brutality and oppression of people of color. I am not going to get up to show pride in a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”



He also expressed his concerns about how his actions had been labeled as an "anthem protest". He considered this to be a diversion strategy from his critics to deviate from the discussion of what really mattered. "I am not protesting the anthem or the nation, I'm protesting organized brutality. To me, this is much bigger than football and it would be selfish to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Colin kept kneeling and his critics grew louder and louder. In September 2017 at a rally in Huntsville Alabama, President Trump said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem and encouraged fans to walk out. Trump advised NFL owners, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired.”



Even the Russians got in on it. A Clemson University research paper found that Russian bots played a role in amplifying the controversy over kneeling during the national anthem. Some 12,000 tweets linked to 491 accounts linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency were sent from the end of 2014 to mid-2018; those tweets peaked on September 22, 2017, after President Donald Trump's speech in Huntsville, Alabama.

That was it. Colin’s message had been hijacked. Even players and team owners turned it into something it wasn’t. It was never about the flag, but the narrative had been completely and successfully changed, and Colin became enemy number one.

Kaepernick was not able to sign a contract with any NFL team after he opted out of his contract with the 49ers and became a free agent in 2017, presumably because of his actions of taking a knee. Nevertheless, even though Kaepernick was no longer on the sideline, his movement did not stop but rather gained more participants.

What if…
Conlin hasn’t played in the NFL for four years now. Black Men are still being killed by the Police and his message is still being taken out of context.

But what if we would’ve done our part?

There was a call to boycott the NFL. I believe that the economic pressure would have caused change.

The NFL is made of very powerful people, mostly Billionaires, who could’ve easily called for a meeting with city leadership and got some things done.

Imagine if the Mayors would have called for a review of officers with multiple complaints or multiple lawsuits against them and they got rid of those bad apples.

What if the boycott would have stopped the owners from black balling Colin?

What if Jay Z would have made sure Colin got a fair workout instead of that sham of a workout that effectively ended all hopes of a NFL return.

What if those people who distorted his message would have listened to what he was actually saying? Would all those unarmed Black People who were killed by the police still be alive?

A positive change could have happened without more deaths, but we couldn’t stop watching football for one season. We let Colin Kaepernick drown in a sea of hatred when he was trying to make the world a better place.

Hopefully, we’ve learned our lesson; the events of the last two weeks have been tragic.

Our country needs more leaders like Colin Kaepernick if our country is going to be what it can be; we’re going to need an “all hands on deck” approach to solving our issues.

Like all superhero movies, it boils down to good vs evil and we all must do our part. Care and concern is no longer enough. We need to get involved.

If not, we’ll be stuck asking “What if.”