The Kaepernick Caper: Celebrity Hypocrisy on Steroids

Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A celebrity multimillionaire professional athlete, San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem at NFL football games, saying he wants to bring attention to racial injustice, oppression and police brutality against blacks.

His team’s owners and managers are supporting his “right” to interject politics into professional sports; the sports media are hailing him for his courage; and football fans everywhere are talking about an NFL boycott.

A boycott of the NFL is unnecessary, because it is committing suicide. What is great about professional sports is that it is strong unifying force in a divided nation. Now they want to bring those same divisions into the stadium? That’s really stupid.

You may be asking, is this an episode from the Twilight Zone? No, but it could be the newest installment a hit “reality show,” Celebrity Capers of 2016, part of a continuing circus called Liberal Hypocrisy on Steroids.

As the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up. And you don’t have to: modern culture in meltdown is one step ahead of artists’ imaginations.

Regrettably, comedian Gene Wilder passed away last week, so he can’t be asked to produce the screen version of the Kaepernick story, The Producers Tame ESPN.

Kaepernick says his protest is not about any personal grievance. No, his “taking a knee” during the national anthem is a statement of support for the “Black Lives Matter” protest against the “continuing victimization of blacks by police.”

To quote a famous Saturday Night Live character,” Isn’t that special!” The “BLM” campaign against police brutality reminds me of the bank robber who lodged a lawsuit against Smith and Wesson because his gun misfired. It is based on the Big Lie of the fictional “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” non-event in Ferguson, Missouri.

One big lie begets another, so now we have that Ferguson “hands up” mythology being given respectability by NFL athletes before a national TV audience, cheerleading from the sidelines by the ESPN network, and a growing list of sports celebrities joining the pile-on. Congratulations, Kaepernick: Fidel Castro and Joseph Goebbels would be proud of your propaganda achievement.

Hey, okay, maybe there’s a case for forgiving the man’s antics at the personal level. He may well believe the propaganda of the BLM, considering his wife is an activist with that organization. And consider his employment situation. He had only two minutes playing time on the field at the end of last week’s game and in all likelihood, he is about to be dropped by the 49ers. His football career is over so he needs a jumpstart for a new career. Al Sharpton, look out: you have fresh, young competition on the horizon.

To be clear, the public outcry and dissent over Kaepernick’s antics has nothing to do with his “rights” because no one is suggesting he does not have the same right as every American citizen to express his political views. The anger and disappointment expressed by football fans and millions of others is about his juvenile exhibitionism and inappropriate behavior in disrespecting the symbol of national pride, bravery and freedom itself –our national anthem.

The NFL is not only tolerating the politicization of the game, it has now gone a step further by announcing a suspension of the rules against displaying personal political statements on players’ uniforms for the 13th game of the season in early December. This cowardly move only adds fuel to the smoldering fire: as surely as the Super Bowl follows the World Series, it will lead to a further politicization of professional sports.

On the other side of town on the soccer field, a US National Team member joined Kaepernick in refusing to stand for the national anthem at a recent league soccer game. Megan Rapinoe praised Kaepernick and complained about “how he was treated.” Hey, did some taxi driver refuse to pick him up? Did a few 49er fans refuse a “selfie” with him? Was he shunned in the locker room? What outrageous persecution! Call the lawyers!

On the good news front, the USA Soccer league sees it differently, issuing a statement saying they expect players to “stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.” Bravo! A USA Hockey team coach issues a warning to his players: Stand or sit, your choice. But if you do not stand for the national anthem, you will sit out the entire game. Double bravo!!

Unfortunately, that brand of robust patriotism is foreign to Hollywood and network television. The ESPN sports entertainment network has praised Kaepernick at every turn and given additional status and respectability to the ongoing BLM slander of police officers.

In Hollywood, the near-universal applause is exemplified by black film director Spike Lee, who has compared Kaepernick to Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King. Pardon my interruption, Spike, but didn’t MLK actually got to jail for his beliefs? The football player has yet to be arrested at a lunch counter or a voting booth, but he will sacrifice some small portion of his sizeable fortune to politically correct charities.

But let us be totally fair and accurate about the Kaepernick caper. His “symbolic protest” was in itself only a personal effort at notoriety by an athlete at the end of his professional career. Sad, insulting and embarrassing for the other players, yes — but no big deal in itself. Probably he plans to sue the NFL for racial discrimination when he is cut from the team. Who knows? The possibilities are endless for his new career as a professional celebrity grievance crusader. Maybe Jay Leno will come out of retirement to do a two-hour TV special with the courageous knee-taker.

But really, it’s not Kaepernick’s personal adventure that has generated a national debate. There is a growing backlash and possible boycott against the NFL, and millions are unhappy with the media’s exploitation of Kaepernick to pump up the phony Black Lives Matter movement.

It is not coincidental that this intense media showcasing of the BLM campaign against “police brutality” is happening 60 days before the Hillary-Trump showdown on November 8. It is essential to the Clinton campaign and the entire progressive agenda that the nation’s progress on equal rights be belittled and obscured in order to stoke the fires or racial resentment and mistrust. No candidate on the left can tolerate the acceptance of the truth about who is killing black youth in our inner cities.

Not surprisingly, the news media has chosen not to dwell on the embarrassing point that by the second week of Kaepernick “taking a knee,” only six NFL players out of a total of nearly 2000 players on 30 NFL teams had chosen to join the protest. A few more players may join each week, but players are not flocking to that parade.

Only the media hype is keeping the protest alive, and naturally, publicity hounds in other arenas will follow the media spotlight:

  • A state legislator in Missouri is refusing to stand for the morning pledge of allegiance; she will have her 15 minutes of fame.
  • A handful of high school and college athletes are showing the Black Panther fist salute at their games.
  • But considering the millions of youth engaged in team sports each week across America, the paucity of public support for Kaepernick is striking.

Yet, the charade must continue so the public remains distracted from the real culprit in urban minority communities today: the failed, corrupt Democrat political machines in our biggest cities. Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Los Angeles– all are governed by Democrat politicians, not rural rednecks, and not the “vast rightwing conspiracy.”

Meanwhile, our pundits and network news narrators will continue to ignore the daily heroism of Chicago’s police force in confronting the horrendous carnage of the black-on-black street crime that has killed over 500 this year alone. Jesse Jackson, phone home: your conscience is MIA.


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