Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the National Anthem in the 2016 NFL season taught me that if I’m going to stand against oppression and police brutality, then I better be financially stable before doing so.
There are plenty of ways I can stand against police brutality and other forms of oppression, but there is a limit to what I’m willing to do. I will not do anything that will put my career in jeopardy because Kaepernick’s black balled career taught me that people will agree with what you stand for, but will let you suffer the consequences alone.
Kaepernick is lucky to be a single athlete who has accumulated millions of income from the years he spent in the NFL prior to his protest. And, due to his social status he has had a few endorsements to keep some form of income floating in his bank account.
But, because Kaepernick took his social justice stance to his job, he is now out of the biggest income he can receive which is his NFL career. I’m sure people are paying for his appearances since his name is hot right now, but eventually, Kaepernick’s name will fizzle out of the media, companies will stop paying appearances and to advertise their brand, and he will have to find a career outside the NFL.
The majority of Black people and people of color will continue to stand for the National Anthem because most of us are not in a position to risk our careers. The majority of people of color don’t have to stand for the National Anthem at their workplace, but even protesting at a sporting event can bring attention to yourself, and it only takes a second for information to hit social media. I wouldn’t want to get caught on camera sitting during the National Anthem and then get called in my boss’s office on Monday morning.
I don’t know what kind of consequences Kaepernick thought of when he decided that he would kneel during the National Anthem. Maybe he thought of worst consequences than losing his job, or he probably thought that people would be angry on social media, and he would still be at training camp throwing a football right now.
For all the people who support Kaepernick on social media I wonder how many thought about sending him some money because he is out of a job right now. I imagine none because for 1. He was already a well-paid athlete before the protest. 2. He is single with no kids, so if he had a good financial advisor then he should have more than enough money to ride out this black balling from the NFL. 3. He still has endorsements and other commissions for his social status.
I wonder if I lost my job for protesting the National Anthem how many people will donate to help me until I find another job. How many of those people who support me on Twitter will offer me a job? The only people I know for sure that will help are my immediate family. I do my community no good by losing resources to take care of my family and myself. So, no, I’m not willing to do whatever it takes to overcome oppression. I will continue to stand for the National Anthem, and place my right hand over my heart, no matter how I personally feel about it. No matter if I’m day dreaming about what I want to watch on Netflix throughout the entire song. At least, I get to continue to provide for my family and my community.