COMMENTARY: Colin Kaepernick backs up National Anthem protest, but nobody is talking about it


By Au Kirk [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

John Ferraro, Sports Editor

When Colin Kaepernick sat out the National Anthem, the media and hundreds of thousands of Americans pounced on social media. In a storm of hatred and aggressive nationalistic outrage, Kaepernick was demonized for his act.

Many on social media and national media outlets alike called on the San Francisco 49ers quarterback to back up his protest by giving back in some sort of way.

Well, he’s done just that.

After the preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick pledged to donate $1 million to charities that support communities in need, according to CBS Sports. His work did not stop there.

Kaepernick started a campaign to promote individual rights and self-empowerment for youth around the country. The “Know Your Rights Camp” is fully funded by Kaepernick with one of its primary goals to educate young persons on how to properly interact with law enforcement officials.

The camp has held two events since starting up last fall. The most recent event in Harlem, New York saw an estimated 200 kids in attendance to learn more about higher education, finances and much more. Here is just a short clip of the days events:

In addition, Kaepernick has performed other random acts of kindness. In early January, Kaepernick donated his enormous Nike shoe collection, some of his clothes and more of his belongings such as hats and gear to charities around the San Francisco Bay area.

Below is a Facebook video from Kaepernick’s official “Know Your Rights Camp” page as he donates those items:

With all of these significant acts Kaepernick is doing and continues to do, one might think those same critics who harshly condemned him for the National Anthem would kneel down and acknowledge his efforts.

Well, he’s not getting any praise. And it’s irritatingly predictable.

A positive, feel-good story about Kaepernick giving back would be the perfect conclusion to the National Anthem “scandal.” Unfortunately, many conservative commentators, and I use that term loosely, like Tomi Lahren or Tucker Carlson, will never give Kaepernick credit.

Yes, the coverage of Donald Trump’s nasty debates with Hillary Clinton and the left and his subsequent first 100 days has dominated the airwaves for the last seven months. But I’m fairly certain that if another black athlete stood up for something he or she believed in by kneeling down for the anthem or doing anything else deemed “unpatriotic,” the right-wing media would attack.

Kaepernick is shattering the stereotype conservatives set up for him. He is not playing a victim. He is not a greedy millionaire seeking attention for himself. He simply sat, then knelt in silence, then gave back.

National media pundits made a mockery of the former NFC Championship winning quarterback and would never rectify the tainted image they created for him. Why would the same national media outlets avoid reporting “good news” as follow-up? The answer is twofold, but simple.

First, some outlets gravitate to sensationalist news rather than delivering a balanced story. Sure, a National Anthem protest is going to draw an audience; however, if you do not tell the entire story, the reporting is almost meaningless.

Second, reporting on the good Kaepernick continues to do would not reflect the narrative some of these organizations pushed out.

Kaepernick sure doesn’t look like a victim. And no, Tomi Lahren, he is not as you’ve said preaching to black youth that “their biggest contribution to justice and self-fulfillment is to parade around with a chip on their shoulder like a victim.” It’s a completely different message.

He’s teaching a message of responsibility and self-fulfillment through higher education, financial responsibility, understanding personal freedoms and the freedoms of others, being healthy, brilliant and courageous.

Kaepernick should be looked at in a very different light than he was four months ago. He should be praised, or at the bare minimum, acknowledged or respected for his efforts to try to change the lives of hundreds of young minority kids. For that, he’s a role model for all of us.

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Twitter: @JohnFerraro21