Colin Kaepernick is the new face of Nike, darling to the left and the center of one of the saddest attempts to shoehorn a person into the role of civil rights icon that I can ever recall. Well, at least since Tawana Brawley, though equally as fraudulent.
Unfortunately for Nike, Kaepernick and the leftists supporting him, the movement has some serious problems. Not the least of which is the complete inability of his supporters to clearly articulate what it is they want. Vague, often incomprehensible, assertions of “oppression” are the standard answers you get to the question. I’ve had a back and forth with a number of Kaep supporters and I have heard everything from prison reform to equal rights (with the caveat that they cant tell you which rights African-Americans are lacking) to “he’s protesting Donald Trumps America” to the standard “cops are murdering black people all over the country” line. No one seems to have any idea what the endgame is here. From ethereal demands of equality to the myth of police running around murdering people, the whole movement is a convoluted mess more comparable to a tantrum than a coordinated effort to actually change something (let alone define what that something is).
The more serious problem is that they’ve gone about this the wrong way from the start. Even if you fervently believe that 100% of the public should support kneeling, the fact remains they don’t. Even if you find a poll that is super friendly to the Kaepernick side of the issue it will still show the split close to 50-50 among supporters and detractors. The intelligent, strategic response to this should be to change tactics. When you’re trying to change hearts and minds, if the goal is to convince people that your point of view is the correct point of view, step one isn’t: Piss off half of them.
Kaepernicks actions are divisive. That’s just a fact, maybe not the fact he or his supporters want to hear, but a fact nonetheless. It is impossible to keep telling people how much you want to unite and unify them while also engaging in behavior more than half of them disapprove of. Right now, continuing with the strategy of kneeling during the anthem is more a sign of your stubbornness and inability to listen than it is a sign of your virtue or nobility.
Faulty tactics and an inability to define your demands, with a smattering of unfounded police bashing, do not a successful movement make. This on top of the pervasive and absurd assertion that some stuffy white guy in the NFL fired him over his beliefs. Kaepernick quit, he walked away, opted out of his contract. It is impossible for any rational person to believe that Kaepernick thought he would immediately be employed again. Diminishing skills, his radical girlfriend putting him on an all vegan diet the training staff didn’t like with the coaching staff grumbling its costing him muscle mass, pissing off half the leagues customers, this guy did everything he possibly could to make himself unemployable in the NFL. And then he walked away from his contract. This is a setup job from the start, a long con, an attention grab.
He’s a millionaire a few times over who now has a huge endorsement deal with Nike all while he parades around muttering about being oppressed. And we haven’t even touched on the fact he’s half white, raised by white adoptive parents, but somehow super in touch with the black inner-city experience.
Maybe the black community is desperate for a hero right now, and anyone will do. There isn’t a whole lot of reasons, intellectually, to support this guy, other than he has managed to shrewdly market himself all the way to folk hero status. In the mold of Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson before him, he is a 2-bit race baiter and a con man. He finds grievances and offense where there are none, picks up a bullhorn and rallies the flock. Sham, snake oil salesman, whatever you want to call him. And he’s now making a living at it, just as the charlatans Sharpton and Jackson before him. His career is playing the victim, being aggrieved, and he’s damn good at it. The real shame here is there are better role models readily available for black youth out there. If you’re African American and being honest with yourself, can you really say you’d rather your son turned out like Kaepernick than Ben Carson? Larry Fitzgerald? JJ Watt? Madam CJ Walker? Pick one, they are all more unifying, truly helpful individuals contributing to society than Kaepernick is.
Everyone would be better off if the left cast aside this divisive, false idol and found someone worthy of adoration and respect. This isn’t the guy.