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.)