NFL player Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers decided to draw attention to himself at a recent football game. He refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem, explaining that he wanted to draw attention to “the oppression of blacks and other minorities.” Hardly oppressed himself, he somehow thinks his big bucks contract to play football authorizes him to be a spokesman for others.
It’s easy to see that Kaepernick was really calling attention to himself. He could have stayed in the locker room but he wanted personal attention. Many commentators haven’t mentioned the fact that his team seems to have given up on him.
As distasteful as the Kaepernick performance was, he managed to worsen it during another appearance on the field. He wore socks containing pictures of pigs wearing police hats. Was he disciplined for this huge insult? Not at all. In fact, many media commentators saluted him for courage. At least some police have protested. The police union in the Bay Area has threatened to boycott future games.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he recognizes the quarterback’s right to protest but “doesn’t necessarily agree” with him. Earlier, when the Dallas Cowboys players wanted to put decals on their helmets to commemorate five recently slain Dallas police officers, Goodell’s office refused permission. Shame on Goodell and the NFL!
Refusing to stand for the national anthem is small potatoes next to disparaging the work of all police officers. Kaepernick’s ugly performance brought to mind something I wrote more than 40 years ago for The John Birch Society’s Support Your Local Police Committee program. Paying well-earned honor to the men and women in blue, the widely distributed small pamphlet stated:
A policeman is many things. He’s a son, a brother, a father, an uncle, a sister, and sometimes even a grandparent. He’s a protector in time of need and a comforter in time of sorrow. His job calls for him to be a diplomat, a psychologist, a lawyer, a friend, and an inspiration. He suffers from an overdose of publicity about brutality and dishonesty. He suffers far more from unfounded charges. Too often, his acts of heroism go unnoticed and truth is buried under all the criticism. The fact is that less than one-half of one percent of policemen ever discredit their uniform. That’s a better average than you’ll find among clergymen.
A policeman stands between the law abider and the law breaker. He’s the prime reason your home hasn’t been burned, your family abused, your business looted. Try to imagine what might happen if there were no policemen around. And then try to think of ways to make their job more rewarding.
We think policemen are great. We thank God for all the little boys and girls who said they wanted to be police officers, and who kept their promise.
Colin Kaepernick’s insult to police is a disgrace. Any others who follow his lead aren’t heroes; they’re misguided self-promoters. And the NFL officials that don’t discipline them are politically correct cowards.