Can America Only Take One Socially Conscious Athlete?

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Doug Stewart

The trending topic for the last couple of day is Colin Kaepernick. He refused to stand for the national anthem in a preseason game this past weekend. That was followed by a statement from the 49’ers quarterback:

“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.”

So instantly we heard talk of him being unpatriotic and ungrateful. Then the questions- Well why is he doing this now? He stood for the national anthem before with his hand over his heart? He’s doing this just to get out of his contract with the 49ers. Lies and false narratives are being thrown around by his detractors.

Why now you say? Why the change of heart? I’ll tell you why maybe he’s fed up.

Think about it, when dude was in middle school, high school or even in his early career not only did he not have an understanding of how the world worked, but I’m sure every other week there wasn’t a video coming out of Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Eric Garner, Anthony Hill or Freddy Gray being murdered in cold blood.

After watching each of these horrific deaths over the past couple of years, I may have been compelled not to stand for the anthem myself. Truthfully, I’ve never thought about not standing for the anthem. But again on the day Walter Scott was shot in the back and killed in N. Charleston, you can understand one not being in such a patriotic mood. Maybe that’s the point in which Colin Kaepernick is at right now. The way he felt 10 years ago has nothing to do the way he feels now, especially with the racial and political climate in the U.S.

Now I’m not Steve Rogers, that’s Captain America if you didn’t know, but I do understand that in this country we are lucky to have the liberties and privileges most people around the rest of the world don’t get to enjoy. I’m also usually proud to be  an American, but every once in a while- more frequently since Trayvon Martin-  people that look like me seem to get punched in the gut ruthlessly by America with reality. Are all men created equal? Are all men treated equal? Clearly the answer to that question is no. That line in itself from the Declaration of Independence is and has been proven over and over again to be a lie for Black people in this country. So does Kaepernick have a point? The answer is yes.

How does the world pay homage and celebrate Muhammad Ali’s life and stances against social injustices just a few months ago, but now Colin Kaepernick is the boogie man?

I posed this question on social media on Saturday after the story broke. Is this point saying America can stand only one socially conscious athlete every 50 years or so?  Seems like the message being sent to me. Or maybe Ali was given a pass because he entertained us at the height of career like no other. Or maybe his final years we felt a sense of pity on the weltering icon.

Hell, America made more of a fuss over a gorilla being killed, by the way in order to protect a little black kid, than another black kids life was snatched away.

About that point, it’s funny that after Kaepernick did this how the narrative changed very quickly. Almost magically I might add from being a simple, peaceful protest of injustices in America to it was an insult aimed towards the military. What? This was about the police killing unarmed black men. You really think when he said “body’s laying in the street…and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder” you think he was talking about our military? Stop it. That’s Silly

If you listen to my show, I have been screaming for athletes to use their platform to invoke change. Now, he needs to follow up with some kind of action. Use his platform to start a discussion. If he doesn’t again follow with action, then it was pointless. He’s probably going to suffer financially and socially for the rest of his life. But if he does spark change in some type of way, it’s worth all the money in the world.

All I know is that we want celebrities to take a stand. This young brother took a stand, and we should be there to support him. Simply put, all black people are asking for is that the police stop killing us in the street like dogs. Is that a too much to ask for? That’s all this is about.

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Doug Stewart

Doug Stewart currently hosts the popular radio show The Doug Stewart Show. His show features topics such as sports, guy talk, social issues and pop culture. Doug is a proud graduate of South Carolina State University and an active member of the Delta Mu Mu chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

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