Young multimillionaires in the NFL continue to parrot the San Francisco 49ers' second-string quarterback in sitting out, or “taking a knee,” during the playing of our national anthem-their misguided attempt to acknowledge America’s racist history and its symbols, our national anthem and flag.
As a patriotic American who happens to be black, I find it particularly disturbing, as it is completely founded on a false narrative (with plenty of data to squash it) driven by an ideology whose goal is to divide America.
According to Roland Fryer, an economics professor at Harvard University who analyzed more than 1,000 officer-involved shootings across the country, there is zero evidence of racial bias in police shootings. In fact, he found that blacks in Houston, TX were 24 percent less likely than whites to be shot by officers, even though the suspects were armed and violent. FYI, Fryer is black and liberal.
The Washington Post’s Police Shootings Database and Federal Crime Statistics report that 12 percent of all whites and Hispanics who die of homicides are killed by cops. By contrast, only four percent of all black homicides are at the hands of cops. I could fill several pages of this column with additional statistics that refute the false narrative touted by Kaepernick and so many others.
These young men are passionately misinformed and will pay a price in prestige in the league and will suffer financially as they lose endorsement deals once those companies get a whiff of lost revenue from fans who stop buying products associated with those players. In a league where the average career lifetime of a player is about five years, that lost revenue will come back to haunt them once their playing days are over and they end up in the real world working as insurance salesmen.
My recent social media post on this topic was refuted by someone who stated, “This is not new. Hippies in the '60s used to burn the flag. Athletes in the Olympics raised their fists in protest. Now we have new athletes kneeling on the national anthem. Who thinks this is new and an outrage?”
My response to that is yes-it is not new. Yet in the case of Tommy Smith and John Carlos, the athletes who raised a clinched fist with a black glove at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, there was a huge uproar from the populace, and both of those athletes paid a tremendous financial and social price for their form of protest.
I had the pleasure of meeting John Carlos through a mutual friend some years ago. He’s an engaging and hysterically funny gentleman with plenty of stories from his days as a premiere athlete. But I could tell his reflecting back was bitter sweet.
The 1960's were a turbulent, racially-charged time in America. But to compare it to today is to compare apples to potatoes; both are somewhat round, but that is the only relative comparison. A second-string quarterback who happens to be black makes $12 million dollars a year while riding the bench and has the nerve to reject, as his protest the symbols and traditions of the very nation that allows him to make said $12 million a year. And those dollars come from patrons who are overwhelmingly white no less. His protest is based solely on the false narrative that would say nothing has changed since the 1960's. If I were John Carlos I would slap Kaepernick and the rest of these naïve, history-challenged, police data statistically-deficient, elite millionaire athletes in the back of the head and say, “Snap out of it! You are being manipulated! You are playing with your future. And all based on a lie!”
Colin Kaepernick needs to stop listening to that Black Lives Matter-loving girlfriend of his, pick up a history book, check out the latest FBI data on police departments nationally, and then go home and apologize to his parents and family who love him dearly. I think he’s trying to find himself, but he only needs to look to those who took him in and loved and raised him as their own-his momma and daddy. That is his true identity. Who cares if they can’t grow giant afros?
(This blog was first posted at http://urbanfamilytalk.com/articles/pop-culture/2016/september/14/what-would-a-1960s-black-olympian-say-to-colin-kaepernick/)