An Open Letter to Colin Kaepernick

kaepernick, psalm 18:39

Colin:

Can I call you Colin? I hope so, because it works, and I can spell it more easily. Besides, Mr. Kaepernick sounds far too formal for my tastes. Where was I…?

Colin, I don’t know what you were thinking, but I guess that’s none of my business, is it? You had to know that refusing to stand for the national anthem would create a huge firestorm. But that didn’t stop you, did it? You knew that the masses would come out against you in force, that it would cost you fans, possibly your job, and make you another face in an already controversial movement.

And for that, I honestly respect you.

You have some fairly unpopular opinions, but you stand by them anyway. Despite the backlash from your decision, you continue to hold true to it, and have said that you will continue to sit for the national anthem. I don’t entirely understand what you seek to prove, and I don’t know what exactly you want to see come of this, but a man with a platform such as your would be irresponsible to not use it to stand against injustice. While I disagree with your methods, I commend your conviction.

And while I’m not one of them, I apologize on behalf of everyone who can’t be bothered to do so on their own behalf. I’m sorry that you’ve been called a disgraceful idiot, a disgusting excuse for a human being, an ungrateful nigger, and a traitor to your country that so many of us are trying to make great again. Disagreement, no matter how deep, are never an excuse for hate.

I’m most especially sorry for you and your family in the fact that your adoption has become a point of discussion for the big-mouthed keyboard jockeys. Adoption is a beautiful thing, and has proven to be my personal favorite way to build a family, having adopted three children of my own and blessed (or cursed?) them with my name. I defy someone to call them a fatherless bastard in my presence. I pray patience for your dad. God knows that I would need it. Hopefully, papa Kaepernick is more chill than I am.

Colin, I’m ashamed of my country when I look at the backlash that you are facing. You are exercising your right to free speech, and while I disagree with your opinions, and while I disagree with your methods, I would never suggest that if you don’t like it here, you should just leave. That’s really not how this works. If I’m being honest, there are lots of things about this country that I can’t get behind. Is it enough to sit through the national anthem on television? Honestly, I don’t think I’ve got the chutzpah to stand up, or sit down, for what I believe in like you have done.

Burning Kaepernick jerseys has become a thing, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s a great way to burn you in effigy, and fitting seeing as everyone is on a witch hunt these days. It’s certainly easier to lambaste somebody than to face our own demons. I think we ought to take heed before burning your jersey, lest we catch ourselves aflame. We are, after all, just as flammable as you. Nobody is perfect, and everybody believes something unpopular.

I remember when you were new to the NFL. Much was made of your Christian faith, and of your tattoos representing it. You weren’t squeaky clean like Tim Tebow, the son of missionaries and dream date of all the youth girls. You were labelled as more of a “Christian bad boy,” whatever that means. You certainly didn’t fit into mainstream Christianity’s mold, and maybe that why they didn’t embrace you. I feel you, brother. It’s lonely not fitting the mold, but if you don’t fit, it’s desperately uncomfortable to try.

Like you, I’m fond of the following verse which you have tattooed on yourself:

You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. (Psalm 18:39)

 

I pray that this verse still means as much to you today as when you had it permanently imprinted on your body, because you have made a whole slew enemies, from social media trolls to legendary NFL players, and even a certain presidential candidate who thinks you belong on the south side of his Mexican wall.

But my man, you are not alone. Like I said, I don’t agree with you, but I already know that you couldn’t care less, and that is one of the reasons I respect you.

Good luck this year (that’s saying something, coming from a true Broncos fan!), and God bless!

 

(Featured image used with permission from Seatacular. Thanks for that! I did tweak it a bit, but it was their photo.)

13 Comments

  1. Desiree Rider

    Very well written. I applaud your love for your fellow mankind, even when you may not agree with their opinions. In a time such as this too many people turn to hate. This is an inspiration of love. Thank you Ryan.

    Reply
    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Thanks, Desiree! I try and take the high road when I can, but it doesn’t always work out that way, and it is not often my first reaction. But I do appreciate your kind words!

      Reply
  2. Chad

    Ryan, can I call you Ryan? It’s so much more fitting than Mr. Saffer. 😆 Just teasing old friend!!! This is a good read!
    I personally can’t stand this guy for his behavior… I mean, after all, he’s protesting the very thing that allows him to protest… It makes zero sense. But what do I know, I’m not a politician or ultra brain pundant, I just miss the four Marines our unit lost in Iraq fighting for ideologies that this guy is now pooping on… Perhaps those ideologies never really existed in the first place. I already know that you understand that, I can pick it up in the subtext of your article, and I respect that. That’s true free speech… Clarifying your views while still understanding and appriciating that you can express those views. Sitting out the national anthem is just a stupid way of throwing fuel on an already controversial and stupid fire.

    Cheers mate! Stay Semper Fidelis,

    -Schieldeal

    Reply
    1. Ryan (Post author)

      I think there are certainly better ways to express yourself, and get your voice heard than sitting down. I’m glad that he has a right to sit down, and I appreciate you, the four brothers that you lost, and countless others. Sender Fi to you, my good man!

      Reply
      1. Schieldeal

        He would have gotten hella crazy press and praise for saluting instead of sitting out… That would have pleased the hell bent right as well as the liberal crazy left. Like I said stupid and silly…. Ahh, the pleasures that come with being famous and/or rich.😋😂😬☺️😋😂

        Reply
      2. Andras Facsady

        Ryan … sorry Mr. Saffer 🙂 It’s indeed a very well written piece. I think you are going a little too easy on Kaepernick. He’s a first class athlete and (I think we can say) public figure, who could have had plenty of media coverage to voice his opinion, yet he chose to do what he did, which was simply disrespectful towards millions of Americans. Yes, he exercised his right, did nothing unlawful, but that doesn’t mean that offending a pretty big part of your nation like that is acceptable.

        Facsy

        Reply
        1. Ryan (Post author)

          Hey, thanks Facsy! Glad you enjoyed it.

          Lots of people think that I’ve gone too easy on the guy, and the other 17 or so players who kneel with him. The whole thing is complicated, and I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it. The thing that I respect most is that he knew what kind of backlash he would meet with when he took up this torch, and he did it anyway. He’s still bringing lots of attention to the cause, but I wonder about the means myself. He’s made a lot of people upset, and in doing so, turned a lot of people off from his cause, which is a shame.

          Reply
  3. Adam

    Respect to you Mr Saffer.

    Reply
    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Thanks, Adam. I sure try to earn it whenever possible.

      Reply
  4. Ryan Reeves

    Well said my friend. It’s hard to respect someone’s commitment to something we disagree with. I disagree with him as well and while I respect his effort to create positive change I just wish he would have done it in a more productive way.

    I am also concerned that he’s left the faith he tattooed on arms in favor of something else. I don’t know a lot of God fearing Christ professing men who grow Afros, wear Malcolm X hats, sport Fidel Castro t-shirts and also date Muslim women. Actually I don’t know, nor have I ever heard of any. Maybe the first two, but not all four.

    Reply
    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Yeah, some of that fruit seems to have gotten a bit too ripe for eating. But I ain’t gonna lie, I’m digging the afro.

      And I happened upon a picture of his girlfriend. Maybe her hijab was in the wash or something, but she didn’t look very devout, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

      Reply
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