Learning from Kaepernick
Bay Roberts is a long ways from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
In fact, there’s over 7,000 kilometres separating the two according to Google Maps.
Likewise, the issues San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneels for couldn’t be any further from the ones we experience in our little slice of Canada.
Here, the issues are a little blander than what our mainland cousins have to deal with. Police brutality isn’t a term we hear around the bay, ever.
Let’s hope it never gets that point.
Very slim parts of our day are spent dealing with race and the circumstances that surround it, if at all.
Likewise our sports and their to politics are just as bland. We lament over our kids not getting picked for a team and debate how one of the coach’s son’s friends made the cut.
Maybe we complain about the procedure with how a coach is selected and the behind closed door dealing that went into it.
Either way, it’s a nothing argument in the grand scheme of things especially when you look at the issues Kaepernick is trying to combat.
Over the past year, there have been countless headlines involving black men killed by police.
Since August, the quarterback has become the face of the movement against that.
There’s an apparent epidemic in the United States and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better
Kaepernick’s obnoxious critics are quieting, but it’s not going away. Others are joining him now.
They’re also black athletes who have made a lot of money, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is how they’re using their platform.
Soon, the NBA season will get underway and for sure, others will join him in some form of peaceful protest.
Kaepernick is going to continue to kneel. It’s his right and we should support him for it.
Some might argue, we’re lucky here. We’re predominantly Caucasian, speak English and issues of race aren’t as prevalent.
We pride ourselves on being welcoming people. There’s no one better than a Newfoundlander, they’ll say.
But as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we aren’t guilt-free when it comes to race and our mistreatment of other cultures.
The negative results of residential schools and treatment of the Beothuk people will attest to that. There’s blood on our hands too.
What Kaepernick is offering us is a chance to bring race to the forefront of the conversation.
He should top the list of so- cial issue topics in classes from Carbonear to Placentia.
In a time when most big-time athletes are worried about their brand first. This protest is an athlete putting something else first.
The issues are bigger than him. They’re bigger than us.
Race is an issue we grapple with every day. We might not know it, but we do.
Even as far away as Conception Bay North, it’s there.
Speak to your kids about what Kaepernick is doing and the issues that surround it.
Don’t be afraid of the conversation.