Gee: You don’t settle on social justice, Colin Kaepernick
I fought tooth and nail with friends, coworkers, colleagues, and random strangers on behalf of Colin Kaepernick. I even flipped a few people to buying into what I (and he) was selling.
But all along, it looks like it was Colin who was selling us something else. He sued the NFL for blackballing him, allegedly preventing him from getting on a team. Now, he has settled that case for an undisclosed amount.
Colin became the “face” of a number of high profile social justice campaigns. For a while, he got a lot of people talking about things that, quite frankly, it’s time for us all to talk about.
But what if other social leaders of our time “settled” for a payout.
“I’m sorry, Miss Parks, we need you to sit in the back of the bus, but here’s $25 for your trouble.”
“Reverend King, we know you and your people are angry, but what if we build a college and name it after you?”
Can you imagine where the world would be if Reverend King took a sweet payout that took care of him and his family forever and just disappeared into the Caribbean enjoying the sunsets?
“Justice Marshall, if you’d just stay put on the Second Circuit’s Court of Appeals, we could make you a wealthy man.”
Can you imagine if Justice Thurgood Marshall hadn’t broken a barrier that, at the time, was seemingly insurmountable in the legal ranks of American justice?
But they didn’t. As we all know Reverend King gave his life for his cause, even after being beaten, jailed, threatened, and intimidated. He had a dream, and he gave his life to it.
Susan B. Anthony worked to expedite the abolition of slavery, and had the audacity to encourage women to demand their right to vote. For her efforts, she was spit on, assaulted, arrested, and further terrorized for most of her life. Do you think she was promised that one day she would be the face of a one dollar coin — that nobody wanted to use — for her efforts? No, she believed in her cause.
Malcolm X has been called one of the greatest and most influential African-Americans in history. His prize for his efforts? A gunshot that killed him. Brothers John F. and Robert F. Kennedy — both known as social justice warriors — were killed while championing their causes.
Colin Kaepernick let the country speak for him, rally to his defense, and then he got a big fat check. Lawyers for the NFL and Kaepernick tell us that they aren’t going to comment on the details or terms of their settlement.
So let me put this out there — why exactly was he kneeling all along? He tried to tell us that he felt guilty because he had so much financial success and had grown up free from some of the persecution he saw his teammates experience. But now that we know what we know, did he really throw us all under the bus and collect a check for it?
The fact that the NFL settled with him in the first place is enough to make me so mad I could blow a gasket, but that is another story.
Some analysts are estimating the NFL paid Colin Kaepernick somewhere near $80 million, which by any standard is a huge amount of money. But it really isn’t a huge amount of money to the NFL, an organization that had revenue exceeding $8 billion in 2018. The proof of Colin’s true intent, I guess, will be in what he does with his money. To me, it seems like the right thing to do would be to spend the lion’s share of his $80 million on efforts to fix the things he supposedly took a knee over.
Either way, when I see comments saying “he won,” I just wonder if, all along, those that spoke for Colin Kaepernick knew money was a goal, because that’s the only outcome that we know about. Actually, we don’t know how much, or anything else about it because there was a signed agreement.
I’ll put the way I feel now on me. I put too much of an expectation on someone who was the face of one of the biggest conversations since the Civil Rights movement. Just imagine where would be if Martin, Malcom, or Medgar Evers settled.