The Michael Koolidge Show

Best way to protest Kaepernick. Don't talk about his issue.

Michael Koolidge

The most disappointing thing about the NFL backup-quarterback Colin Kaepernick not-standing-for-the-national-anthem controversy isn’t why he’s doing it, or even the extreme disrespect he’s showing to our flag, our country and yes, our military; it’s the selective appreciation we seem to have about certain viewpoints. Some viewpoints (disrespecting the country, in this case) are apparently okay, so long as in the process they're advocating certain politically correct viewpoints (the Black Lives Matter movement, in this case). I suspect the accolades being thrown at Colin Kaepernick from many quarters would be quite different if his cause was, say, the plight of the unborn in America. Or standing up (figuratively) for gun rights. Call me crazy but I bet we'd hear much less of the "hey, he's just expressing his viewpoint, which he has every right to do" utterances from so many quarters if he were to wear a red "Make America Great Again" hat on the sidelines when he has his helmet off (which in his case, as a backup quarterback, would be during the entire game).

There are several fundamentals at play here, the first of which is that we all have a God-given right to express ourselves. The natural right we all have doesn’t come without consequences, of course. You have a right to call your boss a fat sloppy pig to his face, for example, and the U.S. constitution protects your right to do so without consequence...from the government. In other words, your boss can't call the cops and have them arrest you for calling him a fat sloppy pig. It’s still not advisable to say this to your boss though, because if you did so for no valid reason (well, even for a valid reason in your mind), he'd likely fire you immediately from your job. That would be a logical, natural consequence of your action; the cops/government don’t need to get involved at all. No one’s “right to free speech” is being violated. You did/said something stupid, and now have to face the consequences of those actions.

In Colin Kaepernick’s case, no reasonable person is calling for his arrest for his disrespectful act to our flag and our country by not standing for the National Anthem before football games. No one is expecting San Francisco police officers to walk over to him and put him in handcuffs because he’s not standing. What’s unfortunate is that so many people are saying that he shouldn’t face any non-governmental consequences for his act. That the mere fact of “expressing himself” should face no consequences, and to criticize him for not standing is somehow "violating his rights of expression." It's not. People furthermore want to REWARD him for his disrespectful act by giving him exactly what he's asking for by talking about his particular political issue, which would be a positive consequence (to him) of his actions. I maintain that he absolutely should face negative consequences, and here's what they should be:

The first consequence is more a pipe dream, I admit: The NFL and the owners of the San Francisco 49ers should have immediately either fined him an astronomical amount of money (one million dollars per occurrence, let's say), benched him, or removed him from the team roster. They would be 100% within their rights to do any of these things, and this would have sent a clear message that this sort of disrespect was not condoned by the NFL, and others would face similar consequences for doing so. But I neither own a football team nor run the NFL, so this desire is mere wishful thinking.

Another consequence could be a boycott by fans of the NFL and/or the products of those that advertise during NFL games. Both of these things would be self-punishment to the public and would likely have little-to-no impact, I also admit.

The third consequence is more of a non-act, but it's something that every one of us has the power to do, and if executed properly would disincentivize any and all atheletes from these stunts. And believe it or not it's incredibly easy: That is, to NOT talk about Kaepernick's viewpoint. To NOT talk about his "message" and issue, in this case "racial injustice in America." Now you might say, "but don't you CARE about racial injustice in America? Don't we need to have this discussion??" Yes, we absolutely do...BUT NOT ON THESE TERMS. Not as a result of such a negative (and I believe) disrespectful act. I'd say the same thing if he were protesting any number of other issues, even ones I wholeheartedly agreed with (like the rights of the unborn, for example), because to reward Kaepernick's actions with giving him exactly what he wants (discussing his issue) will only encourage future disrespectful acts by other players and athletes. And I refuse to have any discussion, about anything, with disrespecting the flag and our country as the impetus for the discussion. 

If we DO talk about his issue, if we DO play clips of other athletes after the games, explaining why they didn't stand, how are we not encouraging more politics and controversy to be injected into sports at all levels? (Which frankly defeats the purpose of watching sports to begin with)

So in my little world, on my little radio show, my protest to Colin Kaepernick and any other athlete who decides to disrespect the flag in order to bring attention (to ANY issue) is simple: just as no one can force them to stand, no one can force us to to talk about your issue.