PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a right to do what he did.
No one — at least none of the educated among us — is debating as much.
If he wants to sit during the playing of the national anthem as a form of protest, he’s within his rights. If he feels like institutional racism is a big enough a problem in this country that he needs to take a stand by not standing, there really isn’t much stopping him.
I do know this, however: the same freedoms that give him the opportunity to not stand for that anthem give others the right to be really upset about his actions. That is part of what makes this country the best one on Earth.
All that said, to me, this issue is all about a plan and moving forward.
You see, Kaepernick has what few of us in the country — especially those looking to spread a message — have.
He has an audience. A big one.
By virtue of being a quarterback in the National Football League, he has a built-in, ready-to-listen, I’ll-jot-in-my-notebook and record-in-my-recorder every-single-word audience in media members who will then disseminate his message to the public. So many looking to distribute a message or point would give anything to have the contacts and spectators Kaepernick has.
That’s why, at this point, I’m bored with any further displays of Kaepernick sitting during the anthem.
He’s kinda made that part of the point.
You know what I’d like to see? Kaepernick use that voice to start to unite; Kaepernick use that voice to start to fix what he thinks is wrong here. I’d like to see him use his status, voice and reach to help devise a plan to take the right steps in getting this all figured out.
Message to Colin Kaepernick: You got our attention, now I think it’s paramount that you become — or help get those together — who want to help become part of the solution.
Your point is taken by this point, Colin Kaepernick, now what will you do — and what do you want to do — with that immense platform now that you have seized our attention?
Do you want a meeting with the chiefs of police in the Bay Area?
Do you want citizens in the Bay Area — or somewhere else — to have a more open line of communication with the police?
Do you want specific police reform?
More community policing initiatives?
Would you like to help form some coalition to study the real or perceived problems going on?
Would you like a task force established?
Do you have a group of people — perhaps even yourself — you have in mind who would like to meet with political officials and try to hammer out some plan?
What is it you want? What is it, specifically, you are seeking to help get this figured out?
Because, as I saw Colin Kaepernick sit there during the anthem and then meet with media members and answer questions, I’m still unclear precisely what his defined objective and plan is.
Kaepernick doesn’t have a responsibility to solve the racial injustice that he is pointing out, but he should be keen to the large voice that he does have (as evidenced by what has already gone on) and feel a sense that he can push things in a positive direction if he does more than just talk about problems.
If a guy such as Kaepernick — with that wide reach — doesn’t stop with a demonstration, but rather goes on to let us know exactly what action he’s trying to provoke by sitting during the anthem, I think only then we can really get some things accomplished.
If he stops here, however, maybe Kaepernick was just trying to “initiate conversation” or “speak for those who can’t” as he said. I guess that’s fine, but how much will that really accomplish other than kicking the nest of the hornets?
But if he really wants to be part of the solution, he should go farther than pointing out the problem.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Check out his bio here.