Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial
injustice seems to be gaining traction. The San Francisco 49ers’ quarter-back knelt
during the national anthem at the ‘9ers-LA Rams game on Monday night. Teammate Eric Reid joined him and players
on both teams raised fists in solidarity. Well, I think there are some parallels to
what is going on today. We know in the 60s, Harry Edwards established
the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Two men who attended the games decided that
they would show their displeasure. They stood with black gloves, with no shoes
and black socks, and gave what many people interpreted as a Black Power salute. You might say you’ve got it all. You’ve got publicity, you’ve got medals. You’ve got martyrdom as well. What are you going to say to that? I can eat that and the kids around my block
that grew up with me, they can’t eat it, and the kids that’s going to grow up after them. They can’t eat publicity. Muhammad Ali also refused to take the traditional
step forward, acceptance of induction into the United States Armed Services. I will not go ten thousand miles from here
to help murder and kill another poor people simply to continue the domination of white
slave masters over the darker people of the earth. Even Jackie Robinson, in his autobiography,
I Never Had It Made, said that he could no longer stand for or sing the national anthem
because he was a black man in America who was treated unfairly. It’s amazing to me. I keep reading about certain ball players,
and one day I look on television, and he’s black. I think they should be judged solely on their
abilities out there and that race shouldn’t have anything to do with it. One of the things that I think we have to
talk about in terms of what Kaepernick is doing, is what the national anthem means. Land of the free and the home of the brave. This came about sort of in response to what
happened to many Americans in World War I. The Star Spangled Banner was played in the
world series in 1918. Other teams picked it up subsequently. But there’s been this sort of conflation of
patriotism, and nationalism, and sport. Players have the right for free speech off
the field. On the field, this is about respect for lots
of people. Colin Kaepernick and others who were kneeling,
are not kneeling as protest against the flag or the national anthem. They are actually protesting injustice, and
that maintaining that we’re not living up to the ideals that the flag and the anthem
are supposed to represent.