Heavens – what is happening? It has infected the sacred sport of professional football, where people live out their fantasies of gladiators fighting for the Holy Grail of victory and supremacy.
Colin Kaepernick did not rise for the perfunctory singing of the national anthem, a routine embedded in this country for virtually every sporting event – a sacred ritual for the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As Bob Dylan sang, “meanwhile life outside goes on all around you.” The real world, to any sober, objective or discerning eye depicts racial discrimination and economic disparity at unacceptable levels, even after all these decades of turmoil. Certainly, there have been advancements, yet the despair and malevolence of racial inequality are manifest and deep.
Kaepernick would never have done what he did if not for Muhammad Ali. Ali started it all in 1967 in the unlikely sport of boxing. A black athlete suddenly had the audacity to have a conscious, risk his fame and fortune, and publicly rebuke the draft, the war and the country’s ingrained racism.
Back in 1967 he was the most vilified man in America. Yet, can anyone argue the consciousness raising that Ali stimulated and the good he did for the world?
Kaepernick is no Ali in the sense that he is not at the peak of his career, nor does he possess the magical charisma of the great boxer. Nevertheless, nonviolent protest is what moves the discussion.
Give the man his due or blame Ali, the black athlete that started it all.