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A BillMoyers.com post this week on the significance of Colin Kaepernick's on-field protest and the fallout it has created for the quarterback hit a nerve with our readers, leading to more than 6,000 comments on Facebook (and counting).
During the 2016 football season, Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to express his concerns about racial issues in America. In "Why Colin Kaepernick Matters," columnist Samuel G. Freedman describes how Kaepernick, who is now a free agent after six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, has been essentially blacklisted by the NFL for his nonviolent political protest.
Here's a sampling of the (lighted edited) comments that we received after asking our Facebook community what they thought of Kaepernick's protest.
"It's a disgrace that a young man kneeling in silent, respectful protest is considered inappropriate, while hundreds of angry, torch bearing, screaming monsters rampaging through the night is actually being defended by some people." - Ellen Gordon
"I wish every black player in every single major U.S. pro sport - basketball, football and baseball - would refuse to play until Colin has a contract. The owners literally think they own these players, but the players - the vast majority of whom are black - own these sports. Who wants to own boxes to watch second-string benchwarmers play? They need to show these organizations who is really boss." - Rebecca Meiers-De Pastino
"Here's proof that this is a racist country. Players with domestic violence, animal cruelty, tax evasion and other crimes don't seem to foster nearly the animosity of a young man making a peaceful statement of protest. While he is vilified for his politics, he has quietly gone about his life, having the unmitigated gall to commit acts like helping at risk youth and other charitable activities. He represents the best of America . . . The rich white men who own the teams of the NFL aren't half the man he is." - Eileen Peterson
"I paid too much money for a ticket for an NFL game to see some jerk turn it into a social comment. He had other venues to protest on. Don't try to ruin my day just because you're upset about something. Take it somewhere else." - Scot Yates
"One thing I have recently become aware of is my own unearned privilege that doesn't allow me to see things from a young black man's perspective. The police officers who I have known are great people doing one of the toughest day-to-day jobs that there is. But right now we know that there is a thing called implicit bias affecting all of us. The only way to address that is to become aware of the limits of our own objectivity, and our ability to know what is true to others who come from a different perspective. I'm grateful that Colin helped me become more aware of that while suffering the consequences. If he spoke near my community, I would buy a ticket for each member of my family." - David Farin
"Michael Bennett, one of our Seattle Seahawks, decided to sit on the bench during the national anthem at the game on Sunday. He was very humble as he explained why he chose to sit. In USA Today, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed his opinion. I will say this: I would sit with Michael Bennett before I'd ever stand with Donald Trump. I will never be so blind that I would pledge allegiance to a white supremacist who is destroying the reputation of America, and neither should any of us . . . Until Congress saves us from this scourge, I'm sitting with Michael!"
[Last Wednesday, Bennett said white players are needed to join the protest for it to be effective ].
"What you do in your private life is one thing, but doing protest during and at your place of EMPLOYMENT is wrong. Kaepernick deserved to be blackballed, and the NFL, NBA and MLB need policies in place to prevent this kind of behavior to occur when on the field." - John W Campbell
To which Judy O'Connell replied:
"He is taking a knee to the national anthem, which isn't played on any corner, and if you do it in private it isn't exactly a protest, is it? Yes, we have rules in the workplace but I don't believe it was a rule at the time he did it. He is paying the price for his conviction just as others have done before him, some with their life. Equality is an inch-by-inch battle. - Judy O'Connell
"Kaepernick obviously loves his country so much that he goes onto his knee, during the playing of the national anthem, and he is saying 'I am waiting for my country to live up to what it stands for, by defending and respecting all of its citizens, so I will be able to stand up with my hand on my heart which would be full of pride.'" - David White
"I equate [it] to the 1968 Olympics when two U.S. athletes [Tommie Smith and John Carlos] bowed their heads and raised their fists during the playing of the national anthem at the medal ceremony. It's a shame that it's 2017 and the black community is still protesting the same racist America." - Cindy Newman
My NYPD friends who held a press conference for Colin Kaepernick and against police brutality today are getting death threats— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 19, 2017
Think on that
If you're saying "No NFL team needs Kaepernick" you're saying "The Cleveland Browns are all set at quarterback" and why are you saying that?— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) June 7, 2017
Previously in Colin Kaepernick:
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Posted on Jan 12, 2018