You see, often times we don’t realize greatness until folks have passed away. Legacies aren’t cemented until decades later when society decides if a trailblazer really accomplished something noteworthy or not. That’s NOT what I have made up in my mind is going to happen when it comes to Colin Kaepernick. This young man sacrificed his NFL career to stand up for something he, and millions of other people, believe is injustice and discrimination on behalf of rich, white America. Whether intentionally or not, Kaepernick made a decision to kneel for the National Anthem and in turn, speak up for those who don’t have a voice. He lost his job for it.
What he may not have realized was that he inspired generations of activists and forced thousands, if not millions, of people to face the hard truths about America and society as a whole. Why do folks get behind women’s rights movements and gay issues, but stay silent on black issues? You can say, oh he should be quiet, he’s making millions. But I see it a bit different. Yes, he’s making millions, but Kaepernick also has a platform: Scream young king! Let your voice be heard everywhere. For every professional athlete making a substantial income, there are hundreds of thousands of people of color living in poverty, in a disadvantaged position.
Kaepernick is a black man with a white mother who knows a little more than most how color can play a role in someone’s life and their maturation and development. Kaepernick is my fraternity brother in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., an organization founded on the campus of Indiana University in 1911 when brothers had to stick together because the bond was all they had against racism, discrimination and bigotry.
Kaepernick isn’t perfect nor does he have to be. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t have a perfect life, but I would challenge anyone to say his impact was less received.
Kaepernick represents integrity, boldness and power in the face of adversity. He represents representation and accountability. Kaepernick represents being black in a white America. Kaepernick represents me. Life hasn’t been peaches and cream for anyone that I know and it likely will never be. But who’s to stop you or I in this lifetime from making it a better place. Each and every day as Kaepernick has been ostracized from the NFL and fights for rights for all, each and every one of us can figure out a way to fight in our lives. Kaepernick was just a football hero, but now he is a living pioneer.
lives by one word: achievement. in anything and everything, achieve.