"People don't realize what's really going on in this country. There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust. People aren't being held accountable for. And that's something that needs to change. That's something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all."
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on why he is no longer standing during the national anthem at the start of NFL games due to his views on police conduct.
Kaepernick is right. Things need to change. It's time for equality in this country.
There is no justice when a farmworker is paid perhaps $15,000 a year while breaking his back 60 hours a week to put food on the tables of people like NFL players - some of whom are pocketing $11.9 million annually for tossing a ball around.
There's no justice when a man or a woman wearing a badge risking their lives every day to protect others and to keep the peace earns $1,500 for a week's work while an NFL quarterback pockets $748,000 per game.
Yes there are bad cops out there that shouldn't be peace officers just like there are bad quarterbacks who shouldn't be playing in the NFL.
The big difference is that when a man or woman in blue make a bad split second decision someone could lose their life including the officer. When an NFL quarterback makes a bad split second decision perhaps a team loses a game or there's an interception.
When a police officer makes what the public perceives as a bad decision whether it is indeed for the reasons Kaepernick delineates or - as in most cases - they reacted appropriately as training dictates, they get a full-scale inquisition. Often their careers or over and in some cases they face prison time.
When a quarterback makes a bad throw fans and sports pundits have a field day but their career is not over and they still have a six year $114 million contract.
Kaepernick is right. There is a lot of hate in this country.
We shouldn't respect the flag of a country where a black man like Chicago Bears' Lamarr Houston pats a quarterback on the back after he throws an interception and is promptly called a "N - - - - -."
Yes, the NFL may have fined the quarterback $11,025 but where is the justice? People paid a lot less who say or write stupid things that are politically incorrect without thinking or in the heat of the moment get fired and slammed on social media.
Kaepernick believes he's on to something when he says a cosmetologist has to have more training than a police officer. He should stop watching Deputy Barney Fife on reruns of the old Andy Griffith Show and instead maybe spend some time with peace officers. He'll find that at least the ones in California get intense training before and after hitting the streets.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color, to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. " - Colin Kaepernick.
I agree. There is oppression going on. It happens every day. But to make the argument that it is this "country" as a whole that is doing as opposed to individuals is a very, very long stretch.
I honestly don't know what Kaepernick sees when he looks at the flag but it's not what I see.
Don't get me wrong. I've come in contact with my fair share of judges that ended up being removed from the bench, police officers who were a disgrace to the uniform, bigots, hypocrites, liars, haters - you name it.
They all stick out like the 2005 year the 49ers went 4-12.
But guess what? Step back a moment from whatever abyss you perceive the country or the 49ers to be standing on the edge of and think for a minute.
The 49ers at the end of day are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history with all of the great players, teams, and championships they've won. Ditto for the United States. But instead of simply being an operation that churns out millionaire players, the United States churns out opportunity like no other nation.
The United States is a storied nation.
Yes, there are plenty of blemishes and a lot of work to be done just like with the 49ers.
That said, I have no real issue with Kaepernick's stance or more appropriately lack of standing. He has the right to do so especially given he isn't interfering with the right of others by refusing to stand during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.
And with all due respect for the charity work Kaepernick supports, perhaps he might actually want to do something that goes beyond what at best is only a gesture.
Anyone can stir debate. Not everyone can roll up their sleeves and actually be a part of change. Not saying Kaepernick should do this, but if he decided to be a reserve police officer during the off-season so he could make headway into the concerns he is so compassionate about, the point he is making will be more than just a trending topic on Google for a couple of days.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.