Op-ed

Sacrificing everything? A response to Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick’s Nike campaign tells consumers to, “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” but what exactly has Kaepernick sacrificed?

Last week, Nike released a new ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick. You know, the washed-up former San Francisco 49ers quarterback? Yeah, him. The guy who believes kneeling for the national anthem will help people suffering in poor communities who are being “oppressed” by the United States.

In the campaign, his major line was, “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” and I would love to ask him, “what have you truly sacrificed?”

Was it your football career, Colin? Was it your money? Because God only knows how much money you are pocketing from this Nike deal. How about you think of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for years overseas in order to protect your right to protest, your right to protest against the country that allows you to do so.

Last Tuesday marks 17 years since the terror attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and ever since then, we have been fighting the War on Terror. The men and women in the armed forces believe in protecting us from evil, and they are sacrificing everything. They have sacrificed their lives for us to have a privileged life in the United States of America.

For the warriors who have babies and young kids at home, they are sacrificing their ability to watch them grow. They will not be there for the first word that comes out of their baby’s mouth, and they will not be there the moment their baby takes its first few steps. And what are you sacrificing, Colin, a lousy NFL career?

A real hero who made the ultimate sacrifice was Pat Tillman. He was an NFL player, and after the 9/11 attacks, he left his football career to enlist in the U.S. Army. He fought for your right to take a knee during the time we give respect to the men and women in the armed forces. He died in friendly-fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

I do see where Kaepernick is coming from, though. We have seen a lot of police brutality in the past couple of years, but there has been more violence in inner-cities between neighbors that I think Colin should speak up about.

Let’s take Chicago for example. According to Mapping Police Violence.org, the total black population of jurisdiction is 872,286. The number of people killed by police from 2013 to 2017 is 51. Every life lost is a tragedy, but try to look at the big picture.

The Chicago Sun Times reports 387 homicides in Chicago since the start of 2018. According to USA Today, during Memorial Day Weekend there were 36 people shot in Chicago, and seven people died. On August 6, USA Today reported that 72 people were shot and 12 people died that weekend in Chicago. Fox News reports six people died in Chicago on Labor Day Weekend and there have been 1,000 shootings in Chicago since Memorial Day.

This is an epidemic. Not just for Chicago, and not just for African-Americans, but for the United States.

I understand Colin Kaepernick has the right to kneel and protest, but I am not sure if he is protesting the right thing. I would like to see him go into the inner cities, and show the youth that you can get out of violence, and that you can become successful if you resist violence from all people, police and city residents alike.

Colin has the platform to do some really great things, and the youth look up to him. Instead of blaming police officers for deaths and oppression in inner-cities, do something to help the people stuck in situations where their neighbors are killing each other.

Show more respect for those who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day, because they are sacrificing everything so we don’t have to.

Rest in peace to all of the first responders who lost their lives on September 11 2001, and to all of the men and women who have died fighting the War on Terror since then. We appreciate you and your service.

Anna Moses is a second-year student majoring in Political Science and minoring in Journalism.    AM881827@wcupa.edu

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