JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD

Colin Kaepernick has been all over the news. He’s the 49ers quarterback who refused to stand for the national anthem as a protest against racism in the United States.

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There definitely is far too much racism in the United States. Too many police incidents. I’m totally on board with Mr. Kaepernick’s right to express his opinion on the matter in any legal, non-violent way.

Our Constitution’s first amendment paints the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of the press with a broad brush. What it fails to point out (though it is implicit) is that everyone shares this freedom — on all sides of an issue.

So if other people hate how you express your opinion, they have the right to burn your jersey, refuse to go to games in which you are playing … and for that matter, dismiss you from your job.

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Freedom cuts all ways. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Mr. Kaepernick is absolutely free to express his point of view. So can everyone else.

Do I agree with one side or the other? I agree with both sides.

More to the point, Mr. Kaepernick should have thought longer and harder about how he would take his stand. Offending many people is not always a good way to make your point, no matter how valid your point may be. He should have considered the potential impact on his fans — and ultimately, on his career. Especially in view of the fact that he’s not playing well.

In sports, you can get away with murder if you’re playing well. If you’re not …

If your team is less than thrilled with your on-field performance, getting involved in a major controversy might tip them in the direction of not renewing your contract. That’s the painful reality. I’m sure he never thought expressing his legal, constitutionally guaranteed opinion would raise such a negative ruckus — or end up with him facing unemployment.

You could classify this incident as a cautionary tale.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Legal isn’t the same as well thought out. Was he justified in protesting racism in America? Sure. But maybe this wasn’t the best way to go about it.

17 thoughts on “JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD

  1. One thing is certain, before this happened I had never heard of Colin Kaepernick and being a Brit his team sport also does not say very much for me. Have no idea what a quarter back is. He has now got publicity, whether right or wrong. Racism is everywhere, so let’s all refuse to sing the national anthem – silly really. If you want to protest, then protest, but I do not think his way of doing things actually did him any good or made the impact that he was looking for.

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  2. I think most in the NFL are pretty clear on the fact that their careers are hanging on a thread with non guaranteed contracts. That’s why, despite very little job security, his decision to take a stand comes off as so heartfelt. Because so much is at risk for him career-wise is why I think it is even more courageous, and applaud him for it.

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    • I’m sure it WAS heartfelt, but it was also ill-considered. There are a lot of ways to protest. That wasn’t a good choice if he valued his job. It may not be fair, but that’s the way it works. Even if we don’t like it.

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    • Ben, I didn’t think he was a Bro. Looks like the 49’ers may have released him. He had dropped from starter to 2nd string after a lousy season. Racist? I think not.

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  3. there is, I was surprised to learn, no law that says you MUST stand for the national anthem, no law that says you MUST stand and recite the Pledge. No law that prohibits physical abuse of the flag. Really.
    You can and should treat it with respect, but only because it’s a symbol of the country, but not the country itself.

    and they can’t put you in jail for any of this, although it probably has been done.

    Yeah, he got the message across, but as you say, maybe that was not a good time to do it that way. Maybe next time just hold up a placard while sitting on the bench…

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    • I think he could have taken the same stand a different way and not pissed off so many people. I don’t disagree with the stand, but it probably wasn’t a good choice if he wanted to keep playing. I think his contract was not renewed … He had been playing poorly, so he might have been dumped anyway, but I think this pretty much guaranteed it.

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    • I will take a look, but I can’t promise anything. You are, however, welcome to copy or reblog my post as long as you give me credit as the author and Serendipity as the originating site. I’ve just got an insanely busy week ahead … but you are welcome and I thank you for your enthusiasm.

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