Tag: Colin Kaepernick

Ted Cruz Stop Whitesplaining Frederick Douglass to Colin Kaepernick

By Michael July 9, 2019 Off

The nerve of Ted Cruz, (R-Senator-Texas) taking to Twitter on the Fourth of July whitesplaining Frederick Douglass to humanist and former professional football player Colin Kaepernick. Cruz created a twitter storm among white conservatives after Kaepernick successfully convinced Nike, the giant tennis shoe manufacturer, not to roll out a Betsy Ross flag sneaker for Independence Day. read more

If They Come For Kaepernick…

By Michael August 11, 2017 Off

Colin Kaepernick is essentially blackballed from the National Football League. Last season, Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. He did so to bring awareness to the plight of Black people at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Kaepernick is an accomplished American football quarterback. He has led his team into the Super Bowl. When his $14.5 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers entered an opt out period following the 2016 season, he elected to opt out of this contract.

Actually, the choice was not his, because had he not done so, the 49ers could have cut him following training camp. The football club would have saved themselves a lot of money, but Kaepernick would be faced with finding another team after most clubs had filled their rosters at the conclusion of training camp.

Basically, he =&0=&chose to go into the free agency market early to improve his chances of landing with a competitive team.

As preseason games get underway this weekend, Kaepernick remains unsigned by any of the 32 professional football teams. Many of the teams are in need of a starting quarterback or a backup who can step in should the first-string quarterback become injured during the season.

There has always been an unwritten rule in American society to punish political dissenters in their pocketbooks, making it almost impossible for a political dissident to make a living for his or herself and their family.

“If you want to eat,” the powers that be seem to say, “you best keep your mouth shut and not complain about the conditions here in America.”

These measures exacted upon American dissidents are as brutal as any acts of suppression leveled against political dissent in any totalitarian regime on the globe. It is a cruel and unusual punishment, a death slower than a bullet to the head, but death nevertheless from starvation and ostracism from the very community the activist seeks to help.

Nevertheless, Kaepernick knew what he was getting into when he heard the cries of Black people for their kin killed by police officers without the officers suffering any repercussions.

He could have done as many of his critics are doing, therefore, turn a deaf ear to the cries of mothers for the sons they lost senselessly to police violence. He could have, but then, he would not be Colin Kaepernick. He would be Michael Vick, or Ray Lewis, or any Black season ticket holder who does not want to give up their seat in the coliseum to root for their hometown team on any given Sunday, Monday and Thursday during the 2017 season.

To paraphrase that Black bard of Negro liberation, James Baldwin: “If they come for Colin Kaepernick in 2017, they will come for you in 2018”

Rise up Atlanta, but not for the Falcons. Rise up for Kaepernick, because when he knelt, he was standing up for your liberty from police tyranny.

Rise Up, Cincinnati! Get on your feet, Detroit! Take a stand, New York! Act LA!

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

Kaepernick’s Fearless Duane Thomas Stance

By Michael August 30, 2016 Off

Colin Kaepernick,28 years of age and entering his third year in the National Football League, has the league standing on its ear. Practically every player, including some of his fellow San Francisco 49ers, is speaking out against his intentional failure to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. Kaepernick has vowed to sit during the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of each of his team’s football games.

It is not the first time that a young Black athlete, in the third year of his professional football career, has chosen to make a statement about the mistreatment of Black people in the USA. In 1971, Duane Thomas in the third year of a contract with the Dallas Cowboys, that would have paid him a measly $20,000, refused to report to Cowboys’ training camp. Thomas questioned the unfair negotiations between himself and the “take it or leave,” posture of the Cowboys. The team determined if he would work in the league and the rate of pay he would earn on that job. Thomas felt powerless to control his professional life.

The Cowboys and all of professional sports, then and today, largely exploit their labor by using a business model similar to that of southern plantation owners in another era of American history. They pay the minimum amount they can get away with for their laborers, and keep literally billions of dollars for themselves.

Thomas was traded to the San Diego Chargers before the ’71 season. They offered to pay him about $85,000 per year for the next three years. A significant jump, but by this time, Thomas was fed up. He was not going to slave on the NFL plantation any longer (For references see Jackie Robinson, Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, Marshawn Lynch and Big Papi).

If he did, it would be under his own terms. He reported to the Chargers before the 8th game of the season, after he had cashed a $13,000 check the club issued to him if he would join the team for the remainder of the season.

While Thomas’ teammates stood at attention with hands over their hearts as the National Anthem played, Thomas paced back and forth, then before the Anthem was finished, he flopped down on a sideline bench, where he stayed during the entire game.

Traded to the Washington football franchise the next season, Thomas reported to the club during the preseason drills and continued to sit during the Star Spangled Banner at preseason games. Football fans, especially the white ones, quickly, turned on him. The backlash was similar to that expressed over Kaepernick’s decision to protest a political and legal system rigged against people of color in America.

In one 1972 preseason game, Thomas had had enough of the taunts and went into the stands to kick a fan in the seat of his pants. 

Shortly after, he was out of the game. Racism continues to run rampant in the streets of America, people of color continued to play sports, fight in American wars, get shot by police officers on a weekly basis and work for wages far below those paid to white citizens. read more