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Three Cheers for Kaepernick
Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
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“Yes, I’ll continue to sit. I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

— Colin Kaepernick

If you don’t think it takes guts to stay seated during the National Anthem, then buy a ticket for a major sporting event –let’s say, a baseball game– and refuse to stand up when the singing starts. Then you’ll see the fur fly. Then you’ll see how rankled people get when you don’t participate in their patriotic rituals.

On Friday night, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game with the Green Bay Packers. As a result, he’s been universally excoriated, scorned and reviled by liberals and conservatives alike. I mean, it’s only been 48 hours since the incident, and already the man has already been dragged through the meatgrinder. Almost overnight, Kaepernick has become the guy that everyone loves to hate, the new Hitler.

But, why? Because he had the audacity to make a statement about the treatment of blacks in America today? Because he wanted to draw attention to the numerous young black men that have gunned down by cops in cities across the country? Because he wanted people to realize that the “land of the free” ain’t so free if your skin isn’t lily-white? Is that why everyone is so pissed off?

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” (C. Kaepernick)

He’s got a point, doesn’t he? The killing of black men by cops has reached an epidemic level and yet nothing ever happens. Nothing. The perpetrators conjure up some goofy alibi with the help of their lawyers, and invariably get off scott-free. Every damn time. Why is that? Why can’t African Americans get justice in this country? It’s sickening and ridiculous at the same time.

Why is it ridiculous?

It’s ridiculous because the masses are more incensed about Kaepernick’s ‘sit-down’ protest than they are about the dozens of black men who end up getting snuffed-out by trigger-happy cops. Talk about ‘getting your priorities wrong.’

So now we’re going to have to suffer through weeks of anti-Kaepernick hysteria and demonization so the media can further exacerbate racial divisions by triggering a firestorm of rage from the uber-patriot crowd that thinks that black athletes should ‘shut-the-hell-up and play ball or leave the country’.

Think I’m kidding? Take a look at some of these statements on the Washington Post comments line:

“What a F-ing clown. His sorry a** should be focused on claiming the starting spot and gaining the respect and trust of his teammates instead some stupid a** protest. He’s done. What a scrub!” DooDoo

“If America is so bad why not move somewhere else? Ungrateful jerk.” David Nicholson

“This Country does NOT oppress anyone….stop being a victim.” Barry Rock

“What an A Hole. Blacks kill each other on a nightly basis in every city in this country. No one brings up black lives matter then do they? Maybe people should put their efforts into stopping these senseless killings. Only when it is a cop killing a black, which by the way were doing things criminally wrong in the first place, does anyone want to protest. Sorry I mean loot, vandalize and burn down cities. I was taught at a young age if you stay out of trouble you won’t have any problems with the law. There’s a new concept for you. Kapernick you can rot in hell.” Yogi4130

“….Somebody needs to slap a pair of fatigues on this little nitwit and drop him off in a firefight in the Afghan War. My guess is he lives in a gated community where he has the darkest skin of anyone. Millionaire sport figures, even ones who don’t perform all that well, are not an inspiration for social justice. Colin should work on his performance in the game rather than try and make social statements.” Vanzetti

“Kaepernick has every right to act like a sulking egotistical brat. Fans have every right to think less of him, and of the team’s management.” balt21212

“A lot of people died in my family so this millionaire dimwit ball-chucker can shoot his uninformed mouth off when he wants and disrespect our country. If I owned the SF team I would sack you by text message, Colin.” Roy

“I’m about as liberal as they come, but I’d fire his a** if I owned the 49ers. I can’t think of many companies that would allow their employees to use their workplace, uniform, resources and reputation as props for personal and controversial protests.” recordhigh

“What has this slime done for this country except get paid way too much for throwing a football. It is just a game. This guy is just another Jesse Jackson/ Al Sharpton poverty pimp in the making.” liberty

Nice, eh? And there’s nothing unusual about the comments I chose either, in fact, the vast majority of the submissions were stridently anti-Kaepernick.

But does Kaepernick really deserve this outpouring of hated and vitriol? Isn’t he just asking whether the values espoused in the National Anthem actually apply to African Americans or not? That’s a fair question, isn’t it?

Think of it this way: Maybe this IS the “land of the free and the home of the brave” if you’re white, but if you’re black, not so much.

Do you really get a square deal in America if you’re black? Is it really a level playing field? Is equal opportunity a fact or fiction? Aren’t you much more likely to be harassed, threatened, brutalized and incarcerated if you’re black than if you’re white?

These are no-brainer questions. Everyone knows the answers to these questions if they’re honest with themselves, that is. Life is just tougher if you are black in America, there’s no two-ways about it.

So why don’t we try something entirely different for once. Why don’t we give Kaepernick the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s not an attention-seeking “America hater”. Let’s assume that he’s just trying to do the right thing by pointing out our shortcomings as a nation just like Mohammed Ali did when he refused to be inducted into the military in April, 1967.

Remember that? At the time Ali was raked over the coals too, but he toughed it out because he was a man of principal. People conveniently forget about the hostility and scorn that was heaped on Ali because it doesn’t jibe with the modern-day remake of Ali as a national treasure. But, trust me, the man was more widely despised than Kaepernick.

And Ali didn’t hate America any more than Kaepernick does. He just decided that it was more important to do the right thing and take his lumps than stay silent and cave in to public pressure.

It looks to me like Kaepernick is following the same moral blueprint. He just wants America to deliver on its promise of freedom and equality for all.

Is that too much to ask?

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Patriotism 
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  1. I stopped standing during the playing of the national anthem when I learned of Bush’s torture regime.

    I wanted to stand on my head during the national anthem (but couldn’t due to age) when the U.S. began baiting Russia and China into WWIII.

    I think American’s elites have lost their humanity and their reason and long ago lost any sense of empathy. They run the place. The national anthem is an instrument of forced-patriotism and demands undeserved fealty to the regime.

    NO THANKS. I have more personal honor than that. I’ll remain seated.


  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A showboating millionaire entertainer acts the provocateur, and is handsomly rewarded for his efforts. Social and mainstream media time are currency, and both invested heavily in this story; Kaepernick is THE trending story leading into the opening of the NFL season, and as they say, there is no bad press.

    And with respect to the number of violent incidents that occur between young black males and law enforcement, perhaps it has something to do with who commits violent crime in the United States (overwhelmingly young black males).

  3. Rob Payne says:

    So much for freedom of speech. There are plenty of reasons not to stand for the national ditty. Why stop at the horrid mistreatment of blacks? There’s all the people we murdered to create this lousy country, and there’s all the people we murdered overseas for the Bank of America. It’s a shitty ditty anyway. Reading the comments just confirms that for Americans group think (if it can be called thinking) is more common than not. Of course, considering the brain washing Americans go through beginning in grade school where you must pledge your allegiance to a flag that looks like someone’s old pajamas and continues on through adulthood via Hollywood movies, television programs, and of course that old standby, the “news” media, none of this is terribly surprising. Still, you cannot blame it all on propaganda because we can choose to think or not to think as the case may be.

    • Agree: Jacques Sheete
    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  4. Nicobar says:

    Kaepernick strikes me as a guy who believes everything he reads. Just the kind of guy who would believe the half baked lazy crap Whitney pulls out of his ass. No wonder Whitney is a fan.

  5. What the media ignored in Kaepernick’s interview

    Colin Kaepernick (CK): You have Hillary who has called black teens or black kids super predators, you have Donald Trump who’s openly racist. We have a presidential candidate who has deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me because if that was any other person you’d be in prison. So, what is this country really standing for?

  6. TWalsh2 says:

    “The killing of black men by cops has reached an epidemic level. . .” – a serious writer would source that statement. Actually, a serious writer would research whether there is basis for that assertion, realize there isn’t one, and form an opinion based on an objective review of the facts.

  7. Marcus says:

    So oppressed that they can make millions by throwing around a leather ball, basically a new GULAG system I tell you!

  8. Kaepernick has shown that he has maximal cojones by standing up to the yankee establishment as a major Football player. His statement is accurate. You only have to look at “” for documentation that hundreds of black men (and others) are offed by the filth each year, 50 or more times more than in any other country. This qualifies as an epidemic; the liquidation of a friend of mine by police thugs who each had two prior murders on their slate way back in the early 90s was one of the major steps leading to my opting for residency in my dual nationality country years later when that option became available. As for those who claim Kaeperlink is exercising his privileged status, I think he is putting it seriously at risk. The soft fascist regime making up the yankee imperium will ensure that he loses his privileges.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @Anonymous
  9. Armadillo says:

    If he refused to stand until blacks stop killing blacks he’d be cheered. However, nobody has the guts to do that.

    • Replies: @Armadillo
  10. JS says:

    Yes, yes, it’s all going according to plan. The gentile races are bickering with and fighting amongst one another.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
    , @EL Sheikh
  11. It’s ridiculous because the masses are more incensed about Kaepernick’s ‘sit-down’ protest than they are about the dozens of black men who end up getting snuffed-out by trigger-happy cops. Talk about ‘getting your priorities wrong.’

    Amen !

    It looks to me like Kaepernick is following the same moral blueprint. He just wants America to deliver on its promise of freedom and equality for all.

    Is that too much to ask?

    It’s way to much to ask and impossible to expect.

    • Replies: @Drapetomaniac
  12. How ironic that his black life didn’t matter to his black father.

    • LOL: Marcus
  13. woodNfish says:

    I have never understood why any of these professional sporting events have to begin with a bunch of flag waiving. I wouldn’t stand either because I refuse to salute and celebrate our fascist police state. And I agree that if you do it you will be an immediate target for the deranged flag-waiving grubers which is why I just don’t bother to go to the games. If I can’t see it on TV, I’m not watching it.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  14. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    but he toughed it out because he was a man of principal

    Indeed, Ali was very well paid.

    • LOL: The Anti-Gnostic
  15. @woodNfish

    Sporting events are important outlets for tribal energy and national bonding. If we didn’t have these circuses to make us think we are one nation, then all that tribal energy would find another outlet, and I bet you wouldn’t like it. So for the believers in America the Proposition Nation, Kaepernick’s impertinence is serious stuff.

    Kaepernick is the living embodiment of the axiom that blood is thicker than water.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    , @Anonymous
  16. woodNfish says:

    I understand the sociological reasons for sport. The Greeks recognized this first. The nationalism part is true of the olympics, but football and baseball and other sports outside of the olympics and national contests are regional, and no excuse for the flag waiving BS.

  17. MarkinLA says:
    @exiled off mainstreet

    Your list included a lot of criminals. Are you another one of tiny dics sock puppets?

  18. Nobody wants to be lectured by some dipstick whose platform comes from being good (for a little while at least) at a kid’s game. Besides, the stuff he’s talking about is already common knowledge amongst us proles, so why should he get any extra pats on the back for stating the bleedin’ obvious?

    The real joke of it is that, like Ali’s stand on his “principal”, Kap’s little showpony act will amount to exactly dick in the real world.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
  19. IA says:

    Too bad white men are addicted to professional sports.

  20. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Blacks aren’t oppressed they live far above their abilities by sponging off of whites. Left on their own their society would collapse to its natural level of Haiti or the Congo within five years (See Detroit, despite massive white subsidies). The hysterical level of blacks these days is caused by running out of excuses for their poor performance. The more obvious it is that they can’t build or maintain or even contribute much to an advanced society the louder they shriek. This lie about black “oppression” is the number one racist blood-libel against white America and it directly leads to the racist murder, assault, and rape of innocent whites in the streets, as the scum that spreads it intend it to.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  21. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve noticed that the higher the black-on-black crime rate becomes, the louder the BLM types yowl about white cops shooting blacks. Psychologists call this ‘projection’ and ‘denial.’

    • Replies: @Wally
  22. Corvinus says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    “Sporting events are important outlets for tribal energy and national bonding.”

    So long as there are men, there will be competition and sport.

    “If we didn’t have these circuses to make us think we are one nation, then all that tribal energy would find another outlet, and I bet you wouldn’t like it.”

    First, sports promote a circus like atmosphere for the participants and fans. Second, there is no “thinking”, we are one nation, especially whenever a team from the United States is playing in international competitions. Our citizens are rooting for its athletes to win. There is little interest at that time what is their racial or ethnic background. Third, that tribal energy is devoted to God, family, friends, and nation. So how could he not like it?

    “So for the believers in America the Proposition Nation, Kaepernick’s impertinence is serious stuff.”

    Over time, Americans have widened the boundaries of their federal experiment and successfully admitted groups well beyond anything the Founding Fathers envisaged. American citizenship is about a group of people collectively bound by a cultural identity that they create and by constitutional principles for that group of people. That cultural identity has core traits, but is fluid to adapt and adopt, as the future generations see fit. From the beginning, Americans embraced a unique definition of citizenship and process of naturalization that set the nation apart from England. American citizens were of European heritages, NOT exclusively English, with the Founding Fathers granting Congress the power to set and change citizenship criteria.

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What? Dumbass, American racist bigots read the UNZ REVIEW? You Yanks have got a big bad racial attitude and you can see IT by how you treat the rest of the world, especially Muslims and Russians.
    To bad more Americans don’t think and feel like Mike Whitney; you would make a better country for it.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  24. @Jacques Sheete

    All of this trouble because some people have tiny assemblages of neurons that direct them to idolize flag and country.

    Hardly evolved from ants and other social animals.

    • Replies: @El Sheikh
  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    That’s sort of Radix’s shtick though: to be obsessed with race. They see it everywhere, like in Hollywood comic book movies which is another one of their obsessions. They’re like Austrian Schoolers who always see impeding collapse everywhere, or leftists who see racism everywhere. etc.

    Kaepernick is just yet another uppity sports negro. His impertinence is about as serious as the WWE. It’s circus kayfabe.

  26. “Aren’t you much more likely to be harassed, threatened, brutalized and incarcerated if you’re black than if you’re white?”

    Well, there are statistics re inter-racial crime that you might refer too, if such a thing is not too insensitive or intellectually demanding. In the US Blacks are in absolute terms responsible for 85% of inter-racial crimes, which makes them on average about 30-40 times more likely to violently assault a White person than vice-versa. Re the police, Blacks are about 13% of the population, and about 24% of people killed by police are Black, which is high, but on the other hand about 43% of police killed by criminals are killed by Blacks, which is even much higher!

  27. @anon

    Agreed. And, if society finally called Blacks out on their murderous excesses, their sloth, their load on the rest of us and the truth were internalized throughout the country, half-breeds would no longer claim BLACK, they miraculously would declare themselves White. They claim what brings them privilege. For now, that’s Black. In a world of reality? White every time.

  28. Three cheers for Kappy? Nonsense, he’s in support of a terrorist organization set up by billionaire anarchist psychopath George Soros. BLM was founded on a lie, “hands up don’t shoot” was a false meme and Michael Brown was a thug that got what was coming. BLM is the foil for the murder of a lot of cops as we now know.

    Kappy would have a little more cred if Blacks shot by cops, every single one of them, weren’t arch criminals. And that is what Kappy supports. Fuggim.

  29. @Anonymous

    Sure thing Limey.. If you like your Muslims, you can keep your Muslims.

  30. @JS

    White feminists love it when men of color and White men are in a hassle because all that masks their theft of the last morsels.

  31. El Sheikh says:

    Ants unite for useful purposes, such as the survival of their species.

    That’s enough anti-antism out of you.

    • Replies: @Drapetomaniac
  32. “He’s got a point, doesn’t he? The killing of black men by cops has reached an epidemic level and yet nothing ever happens. ”

    They’ll let any brain dead moron post here.
    He probably thinks Hillary is a “victim” also.

  33. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This is satire right?

  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @exiled off mainstreet

    I looked at a random sample of the killings on the site you referred to:

    In all of them, the guy killed had a weapon and/or was confronting the police in a belligerent way.

    Extrapolating from the number shown, the total per year would be 1161. Out of 320,000,000 Americans that’s 1 (one) out of 275,624 citizens.

    That’s a really low number. One guy in a medium large city per year. Considering all the face-eating whackos in America, I’d say the police are showing restraint and doing a commendable job.

  35. @El Sheikh

    So-called humans unite for the survival of their beliefs.

    They are definitely up to killing others for them.

  36. @Oleaginous Outrager

    “Kap’s little showpony act will amount to exactly dick in the real world.” Agreed. I tend to think that his being a half-brutha and his skills being highly questioned, he probably is trying to score points with his darker teammates. All of this BLM stuff will die down post-election and the major funding will dry up and the AAs will continue to ruin their cities and cops will continue to be overwhelming white, but not want to police the ‘hoods, and The Star Spangled Banner will continue to be the National Anthem (it is a much better poem in its entirety than a song, and its meaning much more closely related to the oppressed than the oppressor), and Kaperdink will likely be unemployed soon, so much ado about nothing.

  37. Wally says: • Website

    ‘Analysis of Washington Post police-shootings data reveals surprising result – nearly 2x more whites than blacks shot by police’


  38. Thirdeye says:
    @Rob Payne

    I think we should replace our shitty ditty with “The Battle of New Orleans” as our national anthem.

    “We fired our guns and the British kep’ a comin,’

    There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago,

    We fired once more and they began to runnin,’

    A down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.”


    • There are DRAMATIC race differences in crime rates.
    Asians have the lowest rates, followed by whites, and then Hispanics.
    Blacks have NOTABLY and CONSISTINGLY high crime rates.
    This pattern holds true for virtually ALL CRIME CATEGORIES and for virtually and ALL AGE GROUPS.

    • In 2013, a black was SIX TIMES more likely than a non­black to commit MURDER,
    and 12 TIMES more likely TO MURDER someone of another race than
    to be murdered TO BE MURDERED by someone of another race

    •In 2013, of the approximately 660,000 crimes of interracial violence
    that involved blacks and whites, blacks were the perpetrators 85 percent of the time.
    This meant a black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa.
    A Hispanic was eight times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa.

    •In 2014 in New York City, a black was 31 times more likely than a white to be arrested for murder, and a Hispanic was 12.4 times more likely. For the crime of “shooting”—defined as firing a bullet that hits someone—a black was 98.4 times more likely than a white to be arrested, and a Hispanic was 23.6 times more likely.

    • If New York City were ALL WHITE, the murder rate would drop by 91 percent, the robbery rate by 81 percent, and the shootings rate by 97 percent.

    • In an ALL WHITE Chicago, murder would decline 90 percent,
    rape by 81 percent, and robbery by 90 percent.


    • In 2015, police killings of blacks accounted for approximately 4 percent of homicides of blacks.
    Police killings of unarmed blacks accounted for approximately 0.6 percent of homicides of blacks. The overwhelming majority of black homicide victims (93 percent from 1980 to 2008) were killed by blacks.

    • In 2015, a black person was 2.45 times more likely than a white person to be shot and killed by the police. A Hispanic person was 1.21 times more likely. These figures are well within what would be expected given race differences in crime rates and LIKELIHOOD TO RESIST ARREST.

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