I’ve been reluctant to weigh in on the issue of “taking a knee” ever since Colin Kaepernick first began his silent protest in August 2016. For one, I don’t watch football, so I don’t have much emotional investment in the conversation as it pertains to the sport.
I also come from a law enforcement family. My father was a police officer in New York for 30 years, and my brother is an LAPD veteran. I believe in the rule of law, and have the empty rap sheet to prove it.
On the other hand, my pale complexion could also have something to do my cozy relationship with the men in blue. And this was Colin Kaepernick’s point. He was protesting what is widely perceived as unequal treatment under the law, as is his first amendment right.
That an NFL game wasn’t the proper platform for protest is a valid point, and Kaepernick has paid dearly for it. Team owners have made their position clear by essentially blacklisting him; he hasn’t played a game since.
And then politicians got involved, unwittingly shining a spotlight on a nasty rash that wouldn’t go away, that rash being racism.
Enter the Leader of the Free World, calling anyone who would dare to kneel during the National Anthem a “son of a bitch” who should be “fired”. Predictably, this had a galvanizing effect on many NFL players, but also on college football players, an entire high school football team, and a major league baseball player. It suddenly seems that everyone needed to take a public stand on the issue – to kneel or not to kneel.
If this was Trump’s goal, it succeeded spectacularly, but if not, he might need to keep his nose and ego out of football, and focus on helping this nation. Might I suggest starting with Puerto Rico, an island populated by 3.4 million Americans and reeling from a catastrophic hurricane, exacerbated by a crippled economy and infrastructure. It might not drive up ratings, but it would be the right thing to do.