Colin Kaepernick is a role model?
I can feel the quantum waves from the collective eye roll rippling through the dark matter of the universe.
Relax, I’m not going to try and convince you of this. Nope. As Anthony Kiedis so brilliantly put it in the film Point Break:
“That would be a waste of time…”
Instead I’m going to introduce you to who Colin Kaepernick is as a man. At least as much as I could glean in 10 minutes reading his Wikipedia.
Now before I dive in, allow me to say this, I do not know Colin Kaepernick and I am not a 49’ers fan, although I do recognize the greatness of the Montana-Clark-Rice era.
That being said… I have zero stakes in the game. I actually didn’t pay any attention to this story when or since it broke. I didn’t even want to write this article, but a friend wanted my perspective, so I figured, you know, why the fuck not? I can be objective, especially since deep down, I could give a shit, let alone whose kneeling or standing and when.
Let’s first look at what’s given about his childhood… according to Wikipedia, (take it with a grain of “fuck you.”)
Colin was born to Heidi (Zabranksy) Russo, a 19 year-old white girl who was single and destitute at the time, his birth father was an African American man who left the family before he was born.
Let that sink in for moment.
Shortly after Colin’s birth his mother puts him up for adoption. He’s adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple who already had two children of their own—son Kyle and daughter Devon—and were looking for a boy after having lost two other sons to heart defects. Colin became the youngest of their three children. He began playing football at 8 years old as a defensive end and punter. He became quarterback at age nine, and he completed his first competitive pass for a long touchdown. In school Colin thrived as well, a perfect 4.0 student that was nominated all state in baseball, basketball and football. Yes, he not only played all three sports but excelled in them. By his senior year he was throwing a 92 mph fastball and was being courted with scholarships from several big schools across the nation. However, Colin loved to play football, and although no scholarships were being offered, he was determined to follow his passion.
Another point you should let sink in.
After his brother put together a highlight reel of his high school performances, Colin was given a scholarship to Nevada State where he would go on to be the first player in NCAA history to have over 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing for three consecutive seasons. In, total he passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a collegiate career.
On April 29, 2011,the San Francisco 49ers traded up with the Denver from the thirteenth pick in the second round (#45 overall) to select Kaepernick as the fourth pick in the second round (#36 overall).
After a lackluster season, most of it spent as a back up to Alex Smith, Kaepernick came back in 2012 and took the starting job in week 10 after Smith suffered a concussion. Kaepernick took the 49ers to the playoffs and logged his first post season win 45–31 against Green Bay and set an NFL single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 181, breaking Michael Vick’s record of 173 in a 2002 regular season game.
In the NFC Championship game, the 49ers defeated the Atlanta 28–24 with Kaepernick completing 16 out of 21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. The team advanced to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans against the Baltimore Ravens. Kaepernick threw for a touchdown and ran for another, but the 49ers fell behind early and could not come back, losing 31–34.
By pointing out his upbringing and accomplishments, I’m not asking you to forgive his transgression of kneeling during the national anthem, but instead drawing your attention to what’s important: Colin Kaepernick’s character as a man.
Colin Kaepernick is a hard worker, highly intelligent and self-motivated, even when things are not in his favor. Kaepernick could have easily turned to a life of crime, and who would have blamed him after his biological parents turned their backs on him.
He could have taken the easy route and relied on his arm in baseball, which offered scholarships at top schools that would have surely led to a multi-million dollar deal after a good season or two in college.
Instead, he chose his passion.
His first season and a half with the 49ers he did what was asked of him, often times coming in as a wildcat option. He was for all intents and purposes a team player.
When his moment came to step into the spotlight, he shined, and took advantage of the opportunity.
Once he rose to the top, and gained notoriety and a voice people would listen to… he turned his focus to social issue that directly effects him: the unfair treatment of blacks by law enforcement in America. Mind you, he had every reason to not do this, after his father, an African American man, walked out on him before he was even born. But Colin turned the other cheek and made his stand.
Again I’m not arguing whether what he did was right, or wrong, I don’t give a shit. Even the greatest of men, occasional take the wrong stand.
What I am pointing out is that Colin Kaepernick embodies many of the qualities we ourselves instill in our own children: to work hard and never quit. To make the most of an opportunity when given it, to follow your passion, and to stand up for the oppressed and less fortunate, AND most importantly to do it non-violently. I cannot count how many times I see the talking heads chastising protestors for looting or becoming violent. And yet the amount of hate and vitriol aimed at Kaepernick for the simple act of refusing to stand for a song that represents a country run by a bunch of money grubbing criminals is astounding to me. He NEVER said shit about the troops.
The national anthem symbolizes this country, a country with a dark and checkered past when it comes to treatment of minorities.
I’m not asking you to agree with what Colin Kaepernick believes or what he did. What I am doing is asking you to do is to look at the man’s character, character that is exemplary of a role model.
Again, you don’t have to like him, but just maybe if you can appreciate someone with good character standing up for something he feels passionate about, maybe you’ll be able to let go of the hate and criticism for a man that’s more than likely worked harder and overcome more than you ever will in your lifetime.
One final note, the very nature of protest more times than not is when an individual or group of individuals stand up to the status quo.
-The Notorious LL
This is a guest post from The Notorious LL
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the position of “The4519.com”. )
UPDATE: Colin Kaepernick did not vote in the recent election. Does this matter to you?