An Open Letter to Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick, left, and Blaine Gabbert stand on the sideline during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. Green Bay won 21-10.

By Michael Brown Published on August 29, 2016

Dear Colin,

You’re obviously getting a ton of responses to your decision to sit during the national anthem, both negative and positive, but as I just read that you intend to continue to sit during the singing of the anthem, I felt your actions and comment deserve yet another response.

In short, I admire your courage but I question your judgment, and there is due cause for many to charge you with hypocrisy. Are you sure your actions were righteous?

Explaining why you will continue you sit, you said, “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Again, I admire your courage, since it is very possible that this incident will cost you millions of dollars in the coming years and will follow you the rest of your professional career. So this is not an easy thing to do. And I think it’s excellent that you feel a responsibility to use your very public platform to be a role model.

That too is commendable — but that doesn’t mean it is right.

First, why protest our flag, which stands for the things that make America great? As Dr. Ben Carson said, you “disrespect[ed] our national anthem and flag after so many people have sacrificed so that [you] could have the freedoms that [you have] today, so that [you] could make a very, very good living in this ‘racist’ land.”

Many of your fans find it odd that you can so easily bash the very country that enabled you to earn more money in a few years than most of us can imagine earning in several lifetimes. In fact, you’re playing in a league where more than 70 percent of the players are people of color, yet they enjoy equal opportunity, equal stardom, and equal pay.

Perhaps you could have chosen a better setting for a protest than during the national anthem before an NFL game? Can you see how this can seem hypocritical?

Keep in mind, too, that the flag embodies the ideal of America. Remember, the words of the pledge of allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Did you catch that? The flag is a symbol of the ideal republic we as Americans strive to be as a people, one that provides liberty and justice for all. When you honor the flag, you’re not honoring every wrong deed of every American since it’s founding. You’re honoring and pledging allegiance to this high ideal.

Also, and most importantly, you need to ask yourself if you are being moved by truth or by political talking points.

There’s no question that there are grievous examples of white police officers mistreating black suspects, but recent studies have indicated that black officers are more likely to shoot black suspects than are white officers, while there are also examples of black officers mistreating white suspects. And there are plenty of examples of white officers mistreating white suspects.

Are you sure that your stance is fair and righteous?

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, himself an African American, recently asked, “Where is Black Lives Matter? If they cared about the lives of black people they would be marching against the liberal establishment in these large urban areas and demanding a better quality of life and a better way of life. But no, that’s not what they’re doing. They’re instead using the police as a straw man…”

Maybe you could be focusing on the larger, very real challenges faced by African Americans today?

You said, “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

But is police violence against blacks the biggest issue in the inner-cities of our nation? And how many law enforcement officers are actually “getting away with murder”?

When Dwyane Wade’s cousin, the mother of four, was shot to death while pushing her stroller, was that the fault of allegedly racist police?

When there are now 90 shootings a week in Chicago, is that the fault of allegedly racist police?

When 3-year-old Devon Quinn was shot and paralyzed when the car he was riding in was shot up, was that the fault of allegedly racist police?

There’s a reason that many black Americans are raising their voices against the Black Lives Matter movement — some have dubbed it the Black Lies Matter movement — and you would do well to consider what they have to say.

Perhaps they could help you focus on the very real problems that do exist in America, and perhaps you could determine to act first and speak later, using your influence in a positive way behind the scenes, and then saying to others, “Follow my lead.”

That would be both courageous and righteous.

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  • Steve Kahn

    Thanks Dr. Brown for spending the time to write this letter. I may have used strong wording but what you said is fair and ultimately right.

  • ImaginaryDomain

    No one cares anymore, lest of all this knucklehead. This country is so passed it’s spoil date.

    • Andy

      The answer to 1984 is 1776.

  • 6thinclass

    Exercise in futility, Dr. Brown. First Colin is bi-racial [does that make a difference?], 2nd he has sworn allegiance to Muslim ideology so the 3rd step of becoming part of a militant #BLM movement is not a leap. Colin may be getting prepared for being a part of a revolution that will disrespect the white parents that nurtured him.

    • fred2

      I wouldn’t say it’s an exercise in futility. Before he was saved, one of my friends was more of an American hating radical than Kaepernick.

  • Wayne Cook

    Dr Brown. I think Colin meant exactly what you wrote. He’s protesting what the flag stands for, not what he sees. Allen West discovered that Kaepernick has radicalized and is pursuing supporting the causes which we all despise. Your article is peace making for a young man who would want peace. Colin has no desire for peace, except Islamic Sharia. Odd isn’t it.. .He’s in the same boat as the Saudis. Rich and despised.

  • Some time ago an unarmed teenager named Michael Brown was gunned down from a distance of 30 feet by being shot several times, with the kill shot entering vertically into the top of his head—from 30 feet away.

    That Michael Brown was black.

    The white officer was never even charged.

    That does not stop the incident from being murder, cold and sure.

    That is the kind of thing that Colin Kaepernick is protesting.

    And, as I wrote before, I stand with him.

    • Steve Reynolds

      You must not have read the DOJ report after President Obama sent dozens of prosecutors and FBI agents to Ferguson to find a way to prosecute the officer who shot Brown. Obama’s DOJ found that 1) “hands up, don’t shoot” was a lie. 2) Brown tried to take the officer’s gun away from him. 3) According to witnesses (who were black) Brown was moving toward the officer in an aggressive and threatening manner. The DOJ declined to prosecute because the shooting was legally justified. It was NOT murder. So stop spewing your lies, myths, and racially polarizing drivel.

      • Brown was 30 feet away from the officer when he was shot. He had several bullets in him already, and when the kill shot hit, it hit him in the top of the head and went down through the body. The only way for that to happen is for the body to be nearly parallel to the ground. So he was 30 feet away and headed to the ground, not charging the officer, but falling. Stop believing the government’s self-serving drivel and examine the facts for yourself.

        • Andy

          You did your own independent investigation, did you?

        • Steve Reynolds

          So, you are saying that Eric Holder and Obama put out “self-serving drivel” so a white cop could get away with murdering a black man? LOL

          • They care more about their soldiers than they do about the people.

    • Andy

      William, learn to research; learn to reason. (a) Your case is false, and (b) it doesn’t overturn Brown’s points in the article.

      • HugoTheImpaler

        Idiot, did you actually read the arguments put forward?

      • My case comes from a forensic pathologist with access to the body, yours comes from people who have a vested interest in not prosecuting the murder of a black man by a white officer.

  • SophieA

    I think Mr Kaepernick confuses the symbol of our country with the actions of a few with whom he disagrees. As comparison, I do not agree with many policies of President Obama, but I respect the office and his service. Respect for the United States should not depend on agreement with our authority figures or institutions. We, the citizens of the United States, are the true barometer of the unity of our country. Surely we can recognize this and behave respectfully even towards those with whom we may disagree all under the same national flag. We respect our flag not for the worst of us, but for the best of us and what we can be. I suppose what is most troubling is that some citizens who have benefitted the most from our great country’s freedoms have lost their gratitude for the ideals that insure those freedoms.

  • HugoTheImpaler

    Do you think he should just be a good boy, becsuse he gets paid well, and sing along with the third verse where many interpet that the slave owning author was angry at slaves for fighting for their own freedom, instead of their owners freedom (including the freedom to own slaves)?

    • Andy

      Idiot, did you actually read the arguments put forward?

  • Ryan

    I, USED, to be a forty-niners fan. BLM is also being funded by George Soros, maybe Kaepernick figures he can land a few more million by turning his back on the American people like those whom Soros funds.

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