As I began reading the Colin Kaepernick article in the sports section of Monday’s Columbia Daily Tribune it provoked me to ask myself the question: Are you a Tillman or a Kaepernick? I am speaking, of course, of Pat Tillman and Colin Kaepernick. Both men heard our national anthem and each had a different reaction. Mr. Tillman ran to the sound of the drums and Mr. Kaepernick ran from the sound of the drums. I thought about the differences.
Pat Tillman, was making millions of dollars and was a star football player in the NFL. He was moved by events in our country (9/11) and he left his team and joined another team. He was so inspired his heart was agitated with a desire to not sit on the sidelines and watch things happen. With his action he became part of something bigger than himself, part of another team, an elite team, an Army Ranger team. His Ranger Team took it to the enemy where unfortunately he was killed by friendly fire in an engagement with the Taliban in Afghanistan. His team was full of “soldiers” from different fabrics of America all working toward a common cause: an intent and desire to preserve the fabric of America.
Colin Kaepernick, is making millions of dollars and is currently a star football player in the NFL. He was moved by events in our country (police versus communities) and he left his team and joined another team. He was so inspired his heart was agitated with a desire to sit on the sidelines. With his action he become a part of something not bigger than himself but just like himself. His new team is not elite, and they are not something bigger than themselves. They are themselves: selfish, narcissistic, self- serving, destructive and hypocritical. His team is full of “soldiers” from different fabrics of America all working toward a common cause: an intent and desire to destroy the fabric of America.
As I read the article further I marveled at the magnitude of how much press I had heard or seen on the Colin Kaepernick story over the past couple of days. I felt saddened our sports events are no longer a place for us to go to get away from the daily grind and our sports figures are no longer sports heroes but are social tools of our political wings and the media.
Finishing the article, I reread some of the comments by Colin Kaepernick. It bothered me his comments would be unchallenged and reported as if they were inerrant by those interviewing him. For example, he stated, “you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist … that’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.” Talk about insane. There is no relationship between the two. Maybe Colin Kaepernick has been hit in the head one too many times. Hmmm … do you think it is easier to train a policeman to be a cosmetologist or a cosmetologist to be a policeman?
Another unchallenged comment from Colin Kaepernick to reporters was, “there’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality.” He continued, “there’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standard.” Well, he is right and he is wrong. He is right people are being murdered unjustly and the murderers (thugs on the streets) are not being held accountable: demonstrated this past weekend in Chicago where 57 were wounded and 10 killed in shootings. None involved the police. How come that is not the news?
Where he is wrong in his comments is his implication police are killing innocent citizens and not being held accountable. Last reports were a grand jury and the Justice Department found the police innocent in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. The police were also found innocent by the courts in the Baltimore shootings. The “system” found the police innocent because they were innocent. To strengthen this point there was a shooting this past March in South Carolina where a policeman killed a man. After an investigation the policeman was held accountable. To generalize, police are not held accountable, demonstrates Colin Kaepernick’s ignorance.
As I laid the paper down I realized Colin Kaepernick, by sitting through the national anthem, is doing what he should be doing. He does not deserve to stand for our national anthem. He is uninformed and his actions do nothing to make America better but do everything to continue the false narrative of his new teammates, the agitators.
• Bruce V. Sones, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is a combat veteran living in Columbia, Missouri.