a moment of clarity.
"...To those outside the black community, people who are largely unaware of the nuances of black life in America, professional athletes speaking out on social issues appears to be breaking news. To black people, however, they have seen this hustle. They know it when they see it. They have seen the likes of Jack Johnson (beats white men in the ring, dates white women), Muhammad Ali (his Muslim faith), Allen Iverson (tattoos and cornrows), Cam Newton (touchdown celebrations, being black in a space usually reserved for white men), Serena Williams (her body and hair) and now San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick all written and talked about by white sportswriters who take a paternal tone and an air of understanding what goes on in their lives and communities. Yet those who pride themselves on scooping their colleagues on the next big story or writing the hottest of takes can't figure out what ails many of the people they cover.
This is a tale of two views, and it is black and white.
...the tone that some sportswriters use in these instances is racially insensitive at best, and it's something black people are all too familiar with. We openly talk about these topics in church, at the barbershop and in Facebook groups. We see it in the critiques of President Obama, with All/Police/Blue Lives Matter, and in every comment section of an article on Chicago's heartbreaking violence. We often take on that weight. It is an added layer to what goes with black life in America.
The idea that racism doesn't affect athletes is a myth, an urban legend propped up by the system that perpetuates many of the problems black people in America face to this day. It's the people that don't face these problems that don't understand that.
..."This is not something that I am going to run by anybody," Kaepernick told NFL Network. "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.
If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."
This is what black athletes have to deal with and always have dealt with.
...Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also weighed in, writing for the Washington Post: "What should horrify Americans is not Kaepernick's choice to remain seated during the national anthem, but that nearly 50 years after Ali was banned from boxing for his stance and Tommie Smith and John Carlos' raised fists caused public ostracization and numerous death threats, we still need to call attention to the same racial inequities." He went on to write: "Failure to fix this problem is what's really un-American here."
...Racism is much more complex than we like to imagine. It's more than a word; it's a system that is backed up money, politics and the criminal justice system. We live in a country where when media pundits called U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, a 32-year-old man, a "kid," for lying about his brotastic experience at the Rio Olympics, but a Cleveland police officer can kill Tamir Race for doing just that – being a kid. A country where Kaepernick is deemed as being unpatriotic, for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech, but Dylann Roof can burn the American flag and walk into an A.M.E. church and murder people. A country where a presidential candidate whose slogan is "Make America Great Again," wants to criticize a black man who just wants justice is the epitome of not just hypocrisy, but it's also downright fucking absurd. Black lives seem to matter on game day when America needs to be entertained. The rest of the week, not so much.
Kaepernick used his platform, for all intents and purposes, to call America on its shit. There's nothing wrong with loving our country, while having an honest conversation on how we can make things better. No laws were broken and nobody was hurt. He was just exercising his right to get some peace of mind."
ROLLING STONE: Colin Kaepernick and What White Fans Don't Understand About Black Athletes