Time to Take a Stand on this whole Kneel Down Thing


kap-lede
Taking a stand on a gorgeous fall day in a Roanoke park.

Dear Mr. Kaepernick,

First, I’m a little late to this party, I admit. If you could see my inbox, you’d understand. I also could use a haircut. But who am I telling? This letter, though, has little to do with my hair and unanswered emails.

It has everything to do with the movement you’ve begun, by kneeling during the National Anthem before kickoff.

I happen to be a minority here in the USA. I’m the people you’re doing this for. First, I kind of appreciate that, Colin. There’s lots of hashtags out there for minorities, but generally, the ones for my people mostly have to do with #CincoDeMayo.

Thanks for that. But, actually, no thanks.

Instead, Colin Kaepernick – my official request, from just one guy you’re doing this for?

Stand up.

When faith means most

I should have said congratulations for winning back the starting quarterback job for the San Francisco 49ers. There’s a substantial degree of perseverance that goes into coming all the way back.

It’s times when you feel like you might be the only one who believes in you, that faith means most.

That’s where we find ourselves at times, Colin. As minorities. Honestly, most days I don’t feel it. I feel more … American. My sample slice is thin, but I see a ton of corroboration and harmony. I see it where I work. I see it on teams I coach.

I see it in communities, small towns, where you’d expect an edge to the racial divides.

Only, they’re not there. There’s color divides, all right. They’re for the Gold and Blue, the Yellow and Black, the Green and White. It’s my school vs. yours, and after the final whistle, well, even those colors seem to meld into each other.

This isn’t to discount that there exists tension and misunderstanding and hate, even.

Maybe others see it more pronounced than I.

My path is my path alone

Maybe I’m isolated, exempt from it, somehow. Maybe I’ve decided to pave my own way. Maybe my way is exponentially easier than someone else’s. It’s impossible to say. It’s also fruitless to debate this with hashtags or protests or dismissive language.

Stand up, I say.

Stand up, and make a difference, instead of a statement. Stand up, and do something. I’ll go with you, brother. I know I don’t have the means you do, and my family will tell you I scarcely have the time.

But, if you and other pro athletes who feel compelled to express your dismay this way …

If you could turn it into something positive. Stay with me here. What about the Colin Kaepernick Center? You could find office space, in a spot where help is needed. Maybe a business failed at that address. Seems like a perfect place for something positive.

See, the Colin Kapernick center could help the people you’re kneeling for.

Rather than your knee, your support. I see a small staff, a band of volunteers. I see computers, for kids to work on homework, for grownups to work on resumes. For people to seek job training. For kids to stop in after school for a snack, in a safe place.

How hope unites us all

I see corporate sponsorship and other men and women in position to help, to help.

You know how people come together in times of disaster? Remember the unity that bloomed out of 9/11? It’s an exponential effect, seen when hurricanes strike and floods afflict. People will behave deplorably when they perceive it’s their only recourse.

I believe, though, that it’s hard to propagate hate when there’s an abundance of hope.

Can you imagine? I wouldn’t be able to log volunteer hours in San Francisco, but the Thomas Davis Center, or the Kemba Walker Center? Yes. I’ll help a kid with a term paper. I’ll bring by a case of bottled water. I’ll bring my teams and my kids and we’ll pitch in.

I find when times are tough, it’s best to stay busy.

Work with what you have, where you are, right now. What we need isn’t your knee, and your protest. What we need now is roots, and your influence. I’m just one guy you’re kneeling for.

I’m asking you to stand with me instead.

kap-quote

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38 thoughts on “Time to Take a Stand on this whole Kneel Down Thing

  1. This is excellent. Give support when support is needed. He’s brought attention to the cause now he should be finding a solution. Taking a knee won’t solve the problem. I’ll stand with you… all though I’ll be standing in Canada.

    1. Thanks, Eric. I’ve always supported Colin Kaepernick’s option to do this; I’ve also always questioned whether there was a better way.

      It’s such a vague cause. How about we look for ways to improve the world around us, rather than make a non-specific statement?

      Good to know we’ve got some support in distant, foreign lands such as yours.

      1. While I agree that his cause (vague as it is) needs attention, his strategy didn’t seem to coincide with the cause he was supporting. I see standing for the flag and anthem as a sign of respect to our military. They are the reason we can still fly the American flag (instead of a German or Japanese or Canadian). So, to me, he was disrespecting those who fought for our country to shine light on race relations. Just doesn’t match up.

      1. When I have students who are disrespectful towards the pledge I have to restrain myself from saying many things, including the fact so many have given their lives defending our country–never mind politics respect and honor our fallen.

      2. True. Being born on Flag Day I get emotionally tweaked by their disrespect. I got after a group of boys a couple years ago for running up to the front of the class to do the Tebow. They took a good idea and made a mockery of it. Grrr…

  2. Wonderful! Wasn’t it the Dallas police chief that asked the protesters to fill out an application and become part of the solution instead of the problem? I’d put your idea in the same category.

    1. Thanks Kathy! I didn’t know about that Dallas officer, but I like that idea. We have so much more in common than at odds – we all want such similar outcomes for our lives.

      On that, it’s an honor to have my idea considered with his!

  3. I’ve often thought that the time for passive statements such as Mr. Kapernick’s will eventually pass. What then? To me, instead of gaining positive attention, he is just getting…attention at this point. You offer a viable, tangible alternative Eli. I’m going to share this and hope he or some of his teammates see it. Lots of food for thought here.

    1. Passive isn’t as useless as rudderless. Anyone can complain, vaguely so, but if I can dedicate time to fixing a leak or installing batteries in the smoke alarm or getting my brakes done, I’ll just do it.

      It made more sense for attention when he was a backup; what does it say now that he’s a starter?

      I’m glad you saw viability in my idea, C.J. I hadn’t even thought of Kap or his teammates seeing this … but I’m available if he wants to talk.

  4. yes, i agree that there a many problems and challenges, and the most effective way to help to overcome them is to do something active instead of just talking about it.

  5. Although I don’t like it, I support Kaepernick’s right to kneel. Your suggestion for Colin, though, is so much more productive and could have long-term lasting impact far beyond the first few minutes of each of the 49ers televised games.

  6. So.Well.Said.
    I’m weary of catchy sound bytes, click bait, and snappy Instas that only catch a moment and then fade in memory. I want to see people DOING!!! Compassion is a verb.

    1. Thank you, Les. The news cycle seems to reward to snippet over the discourse, and that’s a sad reflection.

      Doing, yes – I feel like it’s the way to make a difference. Compassion is rampant – it’s just not getting the pub that the lack of gets.

  7. YES YES YES!! Love your post!!!From 1 blogger to the next…can you please post your thoughts on this on my blog!! My blog is an open forum on race, religion, politics, media etc. I am new at this but this topic is exactly the kind I want people to share insights on.
    http://www.takethefloorblog.com
    Thanks! I really enjoyed!

    1. He had a heck of a run for sure. With the 49ers cleaning house and CK getting a fresh start somewhere hopefully soon, we’ll get to see if he still has it – and if the 49ers can turn things around.

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