Sports Illustrated, Muhammad Ali’s Family Honor Colin Kaepernick – Tha Wire
Today in Tha Wire Sports Illustrated and Muhammad Ali's family named this year's recipient of the, Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. According to SI, each year nominees are selected based on the following attributes: Leadership, philanthropy, sportsmanship and ideals. This year, no other person embodied those characteristics more than former 49er's quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
The 2x Offensive Player of the Year, became the only player in NCAA Division I history to go 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a career. Kap was drafted in the second round, by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. He went from backup quarterback, to starter in 2012 when Alex Smith, suffered a devastating injuring. Smith's unfortunate setback, was Colins opportunity to step into the spotlight. He did just that, and remained the starting quarterback for 49er's until 2016, when he opted out of his contract to become a free agent.
From 2014 to 2016, police killings of unarmed black men reached epic proportions. In nearly every occasion, there would be no consequence for trigger-happy officers. No justice for the families of the unarmed American citizens, and no excuse for the use of lethal force. In 2015 a study was done on the multitude of Black people being killed by police, and the findings were startling. In a report done by The Guardian, Black people were found to be twice as likely to die at the hands of police than any other race. Even more shocking, was the killings were escalating. See the study below:
By 2016, CNN reported that Black people were three times more likely to be murdered by police. The police killings of unarmed Black people was out of control, and reached epic proportions that could no longer be denied. American's are tired of officers getting away with cold blooded murder, and nothing being done about it. Millions have taken to to the streets in protest, demanding justice. Like most of Americans, Kaepernick wanted to see a change in America's broken justice system, accountability, and serious reform of police departments across the country.
Kap joined the fight for justice, racial equality and social change. He decided to take a knee in silent protest of the senseless murders. He used his status, and his voice as an American citizen. He quietly, and peacefully, refused to stand while the Star Spangled Banner played. Why? The nation's anthem stands for freedom and justice for all, and America isn't living up to the words of the song. Until the laws change, the senseless murders stop, and justice truly belongs to ALL Americans, the football superstar vowed to kneel every game.
Kaepernick's position on his method of protest is crystal ball clear. Anyone who doesn't understand what he's saying, doesn't want to understand. Period. The NFL star is very clear with why he kneels during the song, and why he was compelled to make a stand. Since he stepped out on faith, more celebrities and professional athletes have joined him in "taking a knee." Kap said something has to be done, police brutality has to stop, and if kneeling starts a conversation about the injustice, he's done his job. That's exactly what it's all about...bringing attention to the problem, so we can fix it. Well done Kap, because that's exactly what happen.
The superstar quarterback has paid a heavy price for "taking a knee." He's been ridiculed by fans, some of his peers, some NFL team owners and sponsors, even the President. By the end of the 2016 season, he opted out of the remainder of his contract to become a free agent. In spite of Kap being the best quarterback NOT, playing the game, no other NFL team will hire him. Because of his non-violent protest against racial injustice, he's being denied a chance to play ball. Protesting is a staple of America's democracy. How can this be? Ironically, it's these ideals, that has Kaepernick and others are protesting the anthem.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was recently asked about the Kaepernick situation. He was asked if he thought the former quarterback was getting a raw deal, to which he said...absolutely. Kerr gave his opinion about the NFL's treatment of such a model athlete, and praised Colin's courage to take a stand. He said it's sad, and frustrating to see this happen to Kap. He also feels it's inappropriate for President Trump to call him and other NFL players, Son-of-a-bitches, for their peaceful protests. Hear what he said to CNN on the issue below.
Even though Kaepernick's not playing ball right now, he refuses to back down. If anything it's given him the inspiration for the Million Dollar Pledge, to start various organizations like Helping Oppressed Mother's Endure Inc., and the Colin Kaepernick Foundation. Colin Kaepernick has started a positive movement towards bringing real social change. Now he's being celebrated for his selflessness, generosity and bravery. Last month, Kaepernick was honored by GQ Magazine as the "Citizen of the Year" for his efforts off the field.
The former quarterback sacrificed his career, for what he believed in. Similar to how the boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Ali protested the Vietnam War, and refused to enlist in the Army because of his religious views. The champ faced relentless ridicule, was stripped of his heavyweight title, banned from boxing for three years, sentenced to five years in prison for evading the draft, and fined $10,000. Yet the boxing great would not abandon his values. His widow, Lonnie Ali, knows what kind of strength that took. It's because of that, Mrs. Ali feels Colin deserves this prestigious award. She told the magazine:
“I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people. Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”