Before I get into exactly what I think of you, I want to make something very clear not only to you, but to those reading this who do not know me. I care about all Americans. I care about justice and inequality for people of color. I care about the staggering rate of murders within the black community, and although I am someone unapologetically supportive of the police as a whole, I also will acknowledge the existence of bad cops who need to face justice. No clearheaded black man or woman I have ever known has ever accused me of being a racist of any kind. So before you continue reading this you should know that I won’t get in cars with racists, won’t have drinks with them, and if I am unfortunate enough to be forced to encounter them, I avoid them as much as possible. Now that you know this about me I will continue by saying that your recent behavior not only doesn’t help solve any problems, it indicates how you as a well-known individual is an integral part of many of those problems.
People generally speak up about issues for one of two reasons. Either they care so much they can’t keep quiet, case in point my motivation for writing this letter, or a desperate need for attention, as appears to be the case with you. I guess when you sign a $116 million contract and do nothing for it, you want to find some way to become relevant. This is a free country. Everyone has a right to protest. I don’t think you should be fired or face legal action for refusing to stand during the national anthem. As an American, in this free American society you seem to be so thoroughly disgusted with, you have every right to stand or sit as you wish, and I as an American, and incidentally a football fan, have every right to criticize you for it. Kind of ironic that you used the words “paid leave” to describe those you find responsible when you are in the midst of a massive contract and can’t even perform on a level good enough to start for your team. I am by no means equating a football player’s responsibility to that of a government official or law enforcement professional, but I do believe your criticism of someone not being on the job as you think they should be a degree of projection on your part, and possibly a way for you to appease your conscience of the fact that you now get paid millions of dollars for doing nothing.
As someone who loves this country I find your actions to be deplorable, illogical, and worst of all, unhelpful. Is this the example you wish to set for those fans who still see you as a sports hero to some degree? So many great heroes have died defending this country and everything the national anthem stands for. I’m the first to admit this country is not only not perfect, it’s in trouble. But you see Colin, maybe the difference between you and I is that since I love this country I won’t stab it in the back when it’s down. If anything I will support it more. I am not a soldier or law enforcement officer, so all I can do is show appreciation for all that they do to protect us. If you don’t see how disrespecting the national anthem is doing just the opposite, then you are as ignorant as you are disrespectful.
I do not question you or anyone else’s rights to speak their mind, protest, or criticize anything they see taking place in this country. I may not always agree, but if done so peacefully and with some modicum of integrity, I will likely read or listen to it and leave it alone. When Jesse Williams gave a very passionate speech in protest I did not say a word, because what he did was speak loudly about what he thought was right, and in doing so made comments much harsher than the one’s that you made. What he did not do was attack the core of the very essence of the greatness of this country.
I know your intention is to continue to sit during the national anthem. It is my belief that you do nothing to further the cause of any person in color by doing so. All you do is show yourself to be someone with seriously poor judgment and character, and someone who has made a choice to do something insulting during the song that honors the country that has given you so much. I don’t know you and I certainly don’t know the details of your life, but I know you live a life of privilege, regardless of what you may or may not have done to earn it. Now you have chosen to express thanks not by standing in honor, but by sitting in disgrace. I guess it’s fitting for a player who collects a big paycheck and has now sunk to a level only good enough to do the same thing for his team that he chooses to do during his countries national anthem. Sit on the bench.
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