Colin Kaepernick, NFL millionaire, refuses to stand for national anthem because America isn’t perfect

Colin Kaepernick screenshot

Colin Kaepernick is an NFL millionaire who has been rooted on for years by stadiums filled with Americans of all colors. He was adopted by family that obviously instilled in him the kind of work ethic it takes to break into professional sports. Despite living in the freest nation the world has ever produced (while pulling in $19 million per year), he now says he cannot stand for the national anthem because America “oppresses black people and people of color.”

The NFL released his statement on Saturday after news of his decision spread:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “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.”

Yes, that’s right, because America isn’t perfect Mr. Kaepernick says he cannot show pride in the American flag. Someone should ask the formerly productive quarterback if he can name one country on earth where everyone acts like angels and there are no skeletons in the closet. If he cannot name such a place, then he should be informed that he is an ignorant fool.

Yes, racial issues are “bigger than football,” but the universal principles the nation was founded upon are bigger than random incidents of racism in a nation of 350 million people.

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution states:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Can anyone deny that millions of Americans strive every single day to achieve the goal of “a more prefect Union”? Countless men and women have died to secure liberty for future generations, and yet the Colin Kaepernicks of the world think it is all diminished because some individuals fall short of our highest ideals.
Colin Kaepernick sits national anthem

Colin Kaepernick should be ashamed of himself for using the flag to exploit his own political activism — while simultaneously putting the organization he works for and his teammates in a horrible bind. What makes the situation worse is that if the team decides to let him go because of his poor performance on the field, then he will conveniently say it was done for racial reasons.

Look at the picture of the San Francisco 49er’s entire team — white, black, asian, and hispanic men and women from all across the U.S. — and then look at the one goof sitting down by himself — benched — in between two jugs of Gatorade. Their behavior should tell the quarterback that the national anthem transcends the contemporary obstacles we face, but for whatever reason the message does not sink in.

Mr. Kaepernick may be exercising his right to free speech, but he is not a leader. He is a selfish man who took attention away from his team’s primary mission — to win on the football field — and focused it all on his political frustrations. If I were a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, there is no way I would be rooting for the guy.

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Adrian Peterson’s work ethic breaks the mold

On Dec. 24, 2011, Adrian Peterson tore his ACL. On Dec. 30, 2012 he officially broke 2,000 yards and came less than ten yards shy of breaking the single-season record. The man is an inspiration, for young and old alike. (Image: AP)
On Dec. 24, 2011, Adrian Peterson tore his ACL. On Dec. 30, 2012, he officially broke 2,000 yards and came less than ten yards shy of breaking the single-season record. The man is an inspiration for young and old alike. (Image: AP)

When I was a kid I was fascinated by Barry Sanders. Watching him, it seemed as though every time he touched the ball he could score. Others guys often say that’s what’s going through their mind, but with him you just had the sense he believed it. Coupled with his professionalism (I don’t think I ever saw him do an end zone dance) he was one of my role models. It wasn’t until I first caught a glimpse of Adrian Peterson handle the ball that a similar sense of awe came over me.

Today, Mr. Peterson joined an exclusive club, and became an even bigger role model to a new generation of kids:

Peterson became the seventh player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, plowing through the Green Bay Packers for a 20-yard gain that put him over the top in the third quarter Sunday.

Peterson entered the game needing 102 yards to join O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis and Chris Johnson in the 2,000-yard club. Peterson is the only one to do it after reconstructive knee surgery.

While most of the coverage tomorrow will be on Peterson’s numbers, the story behind the story is the speed with which he recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. SI’s Ben Reiter has a great piece (not online yet) titled ‘All Day All The Way’ that details the mindset of a man Americans would be wise to duplicate. Peterson’s first thought after the injury was to get in touch with a boy in the stands to whom he promised an autograph before the game; the child was tracked down and a jersey was signed “All Day/God Bless”.

Peterson’s second thought:

[He] would not just return to being the best running back in the world, which he’d been less than an hour before; he’d be even better, and he’d do it not in two years, or in one, but in 263 days — in time for the Vikings’ 2012 season opener. “It was remarkable to see how quickly he was able to digest it, get his mind around it and move forward,” says [Vikings’ athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.]

“My mind just clicked over,” Peterson explains. “I’ll come back. I’ll bounce back better.”

Sometimes, you have a bad day.  Sometimes, you have a really bad day. And sometimes, when giant football players fall onto your knee it just seems like the universe is doing its best to make you go into a deep dark funk you’ll never dig your way out of. Every obstacle in life isn’t really an obstacle, but an opportunity to prove to yourself and the world just how remarkable the human spirit is, how resilient the human body can be and how in imaginative the human mind can be when it is given a direct order with specific instructions.

Tony Robbins once said that the brain acts like a servomechanism when it’s given a very specific mission, and he’s right. Like a heat-seeking missile, someone who lays out a plan, believes in that plan and commits themselves to it for the long haul usually has a level of success they could be proud of.

Tomorrow, someone will lament the fact that they don’t have Adrian Peterson’s genetics. That same person will not have heard Vikings punter Chris Kluwe talk about the scars on Peterson’s legs: “[His scars] are from constantly just churning though people.”

Peterson is a machine. He is the ‘Gears of War’. He grinds through adversity, he grinds through opposing defenses and he grinds through that gnawing pessimism that well all have on a day-to-day basis. He does this to realize his full potential.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 Adrian Peterson fell eight yards shy of breaking the all-time single season rushing record. He did this after blowing out his ACL on Dec. 24, 2011. My bet is, he’ll use those eight yards as motivation to chase down many, many records in the years to come.

Somewhere, a little kid watched his efforts and took away lessons that will propel him him to great heights. Next time someone tells you “it’s just a sport” just laugh it off. When you watch to learn it is in fact much, much more.

Thanks, Adrian. God bless.