There’s an undeniable nobility in what was an impactful — but ultimately harmless — display, even if one disagrees. Kaepernick didn’t do this in a crowd, surrounded by thousands. He sat alone, wearing a red, white and blue shield on his jersey. The NFL takes many of its cues from the military and has encouraged the idea that reverence for the military is a citizen’s requirement, not choice. The draft is gone, but we’ve all been conscripted as unquestioning devotees whose gratitude can be demanded by anyone at any time. Kaepernick wasn’t addressing the military, but that was widely and predictably inferred. In spite of this, Kaepernick had the audacity to sit in opposition to what he felt he’d stood for too long.
This wasn’t what Carmelo Anthony and Friends did at The ESPYS, a moment that was important but took great pains to make a statement that offended no one. It wasn’t what the belated Michael Jordan did on this website when he announced he was donating money to groups representing the interests of black people and the police. To paraphrase Peter Tosh, they asked for peace while Kaepernick cried out for justice. That distinction is both subtle and significant...
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