For the past week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has faced relentless criticism for refusing to stand during the singing of the National Anthem before games. He's protesting police brutality and oppression of African-Americans in this country. Kaepernick haters include college football analyst Paul Feinbaum, NFL commentator Rodney Harrison, and City of Miami Police Officer Andrew Mesa.
On his August 29 radio program, Feinbaum said, "This country has issues, but this country is not oppressing black people."
Even though he apologized for his comments, Feinbaum embodies white privilege. It's particularly ironic that he makes a living covering college football, an oppressive sports institution that treats black athletes like modern-day slaves.
Meanwhile, Harrison — a retired NFL football defensive back — is now ESPN's house Negro. He had the audacity to claim that Kaepernick, who is mixed-race, isn't black. "He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on an every-single [-day] basis," Harrison said of Kaepernick.
illustration by Alex Izaguirre
That has to be the most idiotic statement ever. Based on Harrison's rationale, President Barack Obama isn't black.
Then there's Mesa. The cop went on a Facebook rant trying to link Kaepernick's protest to an 8-year-old girl shot dead in Northwest Miami-Dade last week: "Guess who will hunt these coward killers down... Nope. Not that loser caca capernick [sic]. It will be the ones that oppress and kill and get away with it while on paid leave. The ones who abuse and kill innocent black people everyday."
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I'm pretty sure Mesa is the kind of cop Kaepernick is protesting. Of course, Kaepernick is the one who stands to lose the most. Since Muhammad Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War while police officers beat, hosed down, and killed black people fighting for their civil rights, African-American athletes protesting injustice have been blackballed.
But Kaepernick may have the last laugh. Since the controversy began, sales for his jersey have surged to third place on the NFL Shop website. True Americans stand with him.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.