Colin's Folley

Colin's Folley

Why Colin Kaepernick's well-intentioned protest could not have been more poorly planned.
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“Please rise and remove your caps for the singing of our National Anthem.” If you’ve ever been to a sporting event, or any live event for that matter, you’ve likely heard this announcement prior to a rendition of Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner.

An act so habitual we often forget we do it, standing for the National Anthem has recently become a subject of heated debate. The controversy began when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt for the National Anthem before an August 26 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

Following Kaepernick’s initial act, athletes across the NFL have followed suit. The gesture is a protest against the racial injustice and police brutality that plagues people of color across the United States.

I agree that Colin Kaepernick has every right to stand up for what he believes in and sit down for the National Anthem. I also agree that he is protesting for good reason – there is no place for racism and oppression in America. What I can’t agree with, however, is what took place this past Sunday as the NFL season kicked off.

I wonder if Colin Kaepernick considered that the first Sunday of the season fell on September 11 as he planned his protest? I wonder if he considered how horrible the attacks of September 11, 2001 still make people feel, fifteen years after the fact? I wonder if he considered the meaning of his actions on a day that, although forever tragic, now serves as a day of immense American pride?

It is understandable, then, that Kaepernick and his fellow protesters have been the subject of extra scrutiny since boycotting the National Anthem on Sunday. And as a New York City native who spent September 11, 2001 locked in my first grade classroom, I can’t say that I feel bad for them, at least not this time.

As the ringleader, Kaepernick could have cemented himself as a major player in the contemporary fight against racism had he acted a little differently on Sunday. Had he merely acknowledged the events of September 11, 2001 and those who sacrificed everything in the process, he would now be seen as a man both valiant in his beliefs and understanding of those who disagree with them. Instead, Kaepernick spent yesterday adding salt to the wound by retweeting those with him in protest.

Like I said, I have no problem with the gesture – freedom of expression is a fundamental value that shouldn’t be messed with – or the meaning behind it. What I can’t stand, however, is the blatant disrespect for so many people on a day that means so much.

So what’s next for Colin Kaepernick? I’m not sure, but since he lost his starting job, he’ll be sitting long after the next National Anthem ends.

On the bright side, at least he has more time to think of how not to screw up again.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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As A Cardinals Fan, I Let Albert Pujols Go A LONG Time Ago

They say time heals all wounds, but is that the case with St. Louis Cardinals fans and Albert Pujols?

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It's hard to properly encapsulate what Albert Pujols meant to the city of St. Louis. He's without a doubt in my mind, statistically, one of the greatest Cardinals players of all time right up there with names like Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and Stan Musial. His list of accolades in a Cardinals uniform is borderline unbelievable: Rookie of the year in 2001, 9x All-Star (8 consecutive from 2003-2010), 3x MVP, 6x Silver Slugger and 2x Gold Glove winner. Not to mention, he was an integral piece of two World Series victories in 2006 and 2011. The recipe was right there to continue his career as a Cardinal and retire an immortalized legend, but things somehow took a turn for the worst after the 2011 World Series.

Pujols was up for free agency in 2012, and even though the city was celebrating its 11th World Series title (second-most of all time) but the future of the team was in the back of everyone's mind. For context, Cardinals Manager and 3x World Series Champion Tony La Rusa announced his retirement in early November, just days after the victory parade.

Nearly a month later, Pujols announces that he decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels for a record-breaking 10-year, $254 million contract. To say Cardinals fans were perplexed and shocked is an understatement. What could the Angels offer that St. Louis couldn't aside from more money and better weather, especially coming off of a World Series win? Regardless, the Cardinals never seized on the opportunity to sign Pujols to a contract extension, a mistake they didn't want to repeat with newly-acquired superstar Paul Goldschmidt.

I think what hurt most about Pujols leaving St. Louis as he was a Cardinals-bred player through and through. He was drafted in the 13th round out of the 1999 Amateur Draft by the Cardinals before making his MLB debut in 2001. That's been the Cardinal manifesto for nearly the entire Modern Era: draft or acquire young Minor League talent, develop them before implementing them into the Major League system. It felt downright hurtful that Pujols would opt for the bright lights of Los Angeles over a city that had every intention of supporting him

But with most things, time passed and Pujols eventually became a peripheral point for Cardinals fans like myself who would briefly re-enter their lives on the occasional article or ESPN highlight. So when it was revealed that the Angels will be playing the Cardinals in June at Busch for the first time since Pujols left, he was suddenly back on every Cardinals fan's radar again.

So Angels and Cardinals media outlets were abuzz, prompting this interview with Graham Bensinger during Spring Training and the way Pujols frames the negotiations were really peculiar to me. He said he didn't feel truly wanted by the franchise, but we'll never know the whole truth unless we were actually there. I do know one thing though, every Cardinals fan wanted Pujols to be a Cardinal for life and he would have gone down as one of the greats without a doubt in anyone's mind. He spent his best years in St. Louis though and helped bring us two World Series' and for that, I'll always be grateful.

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