Roland Martin Defends Kaepernick — America Criticizes Black Voices for Demanding Freedom

Friday on MSNBC, while discussing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem at his preseason football games, host of  TV One’s “News One Now” Roland Martin said, America has “criticized African-Americans forever for demanding to be free.” and added, “What Colin Kaepernick is saying is if it requires me to take a knee or sit down to demand freedom, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Partial transcript as follows:

MARTIN: People are more concerned about what Colin Kaepernick is doing as opposed to why he is doing it. Do you understand that the San Francisco Police Department, they’ve been embroiled in a racist text message scandal. No one wants to talk about that, but his socks. Then you also have the people who don’t want to talk about the fact the police chief of San Francisco resigned in May because of another questionable shooting. Not that, but his socks. Let’s go to Oakland where they had three interim police chiefs in a matter two of weeks where they have a scandal, more than a dozen cops having sex with an underage prostitute. Again, not what Colin Kaepernick is talking about, but they want to talk about why he isn’t kneeling. That’s the problem in America. We never want to talk about the real issue as to why he’s protesting, it’s how he is doing it, and I love these people saying, ‘He should do it some other way,’  Jerry Rice, Drew Brees and others. It’s interesting. I haven’t heard them say what the other way is, so…

MSNBC’s KATE SNOW:  Jerry Rice said — Jerry Rice says ‘All lives matter. So much going on in this world today. Can we all just get along? Colin, I respect your stance but don’t disrespect the flag.’ What does it say that a very popular, successful fellow African-American athlete is saying that?

MARTIN:  That means Jerry Rice has no conscience. That means Jerry Rice tweeted something but he hasn’t put anything on the line. Jerry Rice has said nothing about racist text messages in San Francisco. Why doesn’t he join Aunjanue Ellis, a fellow native of Mississippi to talk about taking the confederate symbol off the flag. Drew Brees made his comment in New Orleans, has he stood with the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu who called in the Department of Justice because of the corrupt police department there in New Orleans? See, that’s the whole point. I love these folks who are saying, oh, no, Colin, don’t do that, but they’ve been sitting their butts on the sidelines. They don’t mind us cheering them on the field. What about the issues off the field? Jerry Rice has been silent about that. And so Jerry, Colin has more guts on addressing these issues than you have, even with your hall of fame jacket.

SNOW: I interviewed Harry Belafonte on your program this week. I want to play a little bit of sound that caught our ear from that interview.


HARRY BELAFONTE: To mute the slave has always been to the best interests of the slave owner, and I think when a black voice is raised in protest to oppression, those who are comfortable with our oppression are the first to criticize us for daring to speak out against it.


SNOW:  How much of the outrage do you think is about respecting the flag and patriotism and how much of it is actually deep-seeded racism?

MARTIN: No, first of all, I think it’s a combination. I think Americans, we love to ignore what the real issue is. And so folks don’t want to deal with what he was speaking of. And that is police brutality. The need for social justice reform. You have more people who are outraged with Kaepernick as opposed to a judge allowing a man who sexually assaulted an 8-year-old boy to get 30 days in prison because he felt prison would be too tough for him. Just get him some counseling. We have problems in our criminal justice system. Fans in Cleveland who are more excited about the Cavaliers winning a title as opposed to Tamir Rice  being shot and killed by a cop. We have the case in Chicago. again, everybody, ‘Oh, be quiet. Let’s be mad at Colin,’  but not the fact you have cops who covered up the incident of Laquan McDonald and we only know the truth because a videotape was released. Those are issues we have in this country. So America, for so many years, 397 years, has always objected from the moment 20-odd Africans arrived in 1619 at Port Comfort, Virginia, now Ft. Monroe, Virginia, — have always had a problem whenhave demanded freedom. What’s interesting, they criticized Dr. King for the very same thing. Muhammad Ali same thing. A. Philip Randolph and Fannie Lou Hammer, Ella Baker — they criticized African Americans forever for demanding to be free in America. What Colin Kaepernick is saying is if it requires me to take a knee or sit down to demand freedom, that’s what I’m going to do. I just want people to focus o black voices n those issues and not just whether or not he’s standing up for a national anthem or the flag.

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