I had another birthday last week; I’ve had too many of them. I’m not yet using a walker or drinking Ensure. But, I’ve already arrived at the age where I think young people drive too darn fast and we would have a better world if Millennials would put down their smart phones and get a library card.
Actually, this creeping age thing does have its benefits; a bit more calmness – like in the roiling case of a pro quarterback who refuses to stand at attention and place his hand over his heart during the national anthem.
Only two months ago San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick was known, if at all, as a second-string quarterback destined to spend much of this contract year sitting on the bench. If he wanted fame, he got it by his national anthem protests. Now he is not just a second-string quarterback; for many Americans, he’s the Devil, the unpatriotic twirp how makes millions while disrespecting the country.
If you had a Kaepernick mask on Halloween, you might not be the scariest figure at your party, but you would be the most despised.
But I’m not one of those (maybe because I’ve been around the block a few times) to joining the frenzy and call for his flogging, deportation, or banning from pro football.
It is not uncommon to see NBA athletes standing with their hands folded behind their back while the anthem is played. Their look of sheer boredom cannot be masked simply because they are standing. It is also not uncommon at sports or music events so see fans refusing or forgetting to take off their caps while the flag is displayed of the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.
You can’t force patriotism, only the gestures. You can script hand-positions, but you can’t script true love of country. So if a guy no one really cared about in July wants to become relevant again by sitting or kneeling, why should we get an ulcer?
The irony is that if Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem and announced he was doing so in prayer for America to return to its roots and faith, he would be celebrated as a hero by many. Instead his motivation about cops shooting civilians hit the opposite nerve. This is a legitimate and multi-faceted problem, but it will be solved by police agencies, not athletes with fat paychecks.
So watch 49er broadcasts and swear at the TV if you wish. But be honest; Colin Kaepernick may anger you, but he doesn’t really impact your life. Climate change, health care costs, education issues, job worries – these affect people’s lives, not sitting or kneeling athletes.
Ironically, for some pro football fans; however, Kaepernick is indeed changing minds. No longer will Tom Brady be the most-hated quarterback in the NFL.