You Can Support Our Troops AND Not Stand For The Anthem

You Can Support Our Troops AND Not Stand For The Anthem

Kaepernick might not be great at football, but maybe he got this one right.

Colin Kaepernick made history last football season and not because he looks exactly like Larry the Cucumber (Google it if you don't believe me). He made history because he refuses to stand for the national anthem. He explains this by saying, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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."

He isn't wrong. The database Mapping Police Violence estimates that police have killed at least 189 black people in 2017. And most of the time those officers are not convicted. They are given paid leave while the drama dies down. They are not fired, they are not demoted, and they are sent back to their jobs.

People are infuriated by Kaepernick's protests, and they have been very vocal about it:

But here's the thing about Kaepernick and those who follow him: their childhood doesn't matter. Whether or not they have been the beneficiaries of white privilege doesn't matter. Hell, whether or not they voted for Donald Trump doesn't even matter.What matters is that they are using their position as highly paid athletes to try and make social change happen. That's what privilege SHOULD BE: using your privilege to help those who cannot say or do these things without being severely punished for it.There's more though -- people are claiming that by not standing for the anthem, he is insulting the people who fought and died for our country. I disagree.

Our troops didn't go to war to maintain the status quo of the world. They went to war and fought and died for our country to change the status quo. In Iraq and Afghanistan, our troops were primarily there to save women and children from the reign of the Taliban and al-Qaeda where they were being raped, killed and in some cases, enslaved.

We were using our position of privilege to help those who couldn't help themselves. Sound familiar?

By not standing for the anthem, you can still support the troops. You can support the idea that our troops have been fighting, dying and serving in an attempt to make the world a better place, where the United States as a nation is using their position to help those who can't.

That's what Kaepernick is doing. He is using his position as a millionaire football player to help those who are getting killed in the streets by police simply for being black. Why are we criticizing him for that?

Cover Image Credit: ABC News

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For College Athletes, A Degree Is Not As Valuable As A Paycheck

It's time for the NCAA to start owning up to its true nature.


I was watching TV the other day, being especially unproductive when an NCAA commercial came on that got under my skin. Jerry Rice, Hall of Fame NFL wide receiver is talking while a montage of historically great professional sports moments juxtaposed with scenes of aspiring college athletes plays in the background. Rice states that only two percent of the 480,000 American college athletes will go pro in their sport, meaning that over 470,000 will not get a shoe contract, sign autographs, fly in private jets, have fan clubs, or be inducted into any Halls of Fame.

Instead, he reassures us, they will receive something much more valuable. While not saying it explicitly, the NCAA is implying that a college degree is more valuable than anything a college athlete will experience professionally. Come on man.

You're telling me that graduating with a 2.5 GPA with a BA in sociology is just as valuable as a million dollar shoe deal or a rookie signing bonus? When you show me the degree that can get you $400,000 right out of college then I'll believe you. While in college, their sport is literally their job. Between morning workouts, afternoon workouts, eating enough food, and perfecting their on-the-field craft in order to bring in more money for the organization enslaving them, they have hardly the time to make anything other than barely passing grades in a major that will mean nothing after graduation compared to even the smallest rookie deal.

Obviously there are exceptions but on the whole, these kids don't care about a degree and neither should we. We're lying to ourselves if we think the NCAA is anything other than a money making organization, let alone one that cares the slightest about the education of its athletes. The sport is their education. I'm not saying these kids aren't smart. In fact, they're geniuses, just in no way that our society values which is odd considering the revenue that college and professional sports rake in. College football is making $7.3 billion over the next 12 years from ESPN alone and almost everyone at their mercy clearly sees the farce for what it is.

Mack Brown, former Texas football coach and current television analyst stated that "When you hear presidents and athletic directors talk about character and academics and integrity, none of that really matters. The truth is, nobody has ever been fired for those things. They get fired for losing."

It's not that the money or the organization itself is inherently bad, just that some honesty wouldn't hurt. Elite athletes don't care about school. Schools hardly even about school. They care about money and winning and that's okay if we own up to it.

These athletes' brains haven't developed to be inquisitive about science or technology or to compose a piece of music or a novel that can elicit the deepest of emotions. Instead they're geniuses at fooling a defender into thinking they're going one way, only to stop on a dime and cut back with lightning quickness, leaving the defender in the dust, or throwing a ball just over the outstretched reach of another elite athlete, and give it the perfect trajectory to land in a hoop 18 inches in diameter. Let a math major try to figure out the curve of that parabola.

Listen, I love sports with a burning passion which is why I am taking the time to write this article in the first place, but I hate blind hypocrisy even more. Just pay them like the professionals they are or let that "priceless" degree somehow reflect their life's work.

We have to start by acknowledging and compensating these kids in some way that is comparable to the popularity they've brought the organization because you're right Jerry Rice, only two percent will make it, meaning that 98 percent will have wasted the first quarter of their lives on something that gave them nothing in return but a pat on the back.


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