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.
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.
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.