He states, “to be Nobody is to be vulnerable ... to be Nobody is to be subject to state violence ... to be Nobody is to be abandoned by the state ... to be Nobody is to be considered disposable.”
This is about the Black and Brown bodies that lay in the street after being disposed of by the state.
This is also about the expectations of black athletes when it comes to social and political issues. Too often, black athletes are told to be grateful for the position they’re in and to not cause trouble or bring attention to themselves or their organization.
Black athletes aren’t supposed to talk truthfully and honestly about this country’s shortcomings and absolute failures, especially if it has to do with race.
They’re told to not speak out, as if they’re not humans with families and communities that are directly affected by these issues every day.
And this isn’t just something that professional athletes have to deal with; college student-athletes face many of the same struggles. By and large, the sentiment towards black athletes is that they are there to perform and nothing more. If they accept this, fame and accolades will follow. If they push against it? Career suicide.
Almost three months ago, we lost one of the greatest athletes and revolutionaries of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali.
More than arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Ali was a revolutionary soul in every sense of the word. He fought against an unjust government and an unjust war in 1967 when it was extremely dangerous for a Black man to do so.
He risked his career when he was on top because of what he believed in. He was hated and vilified by mainstream America for it.
Kaepernick is doing the same thing in 2016, when it’s still just as dangerous. He is the next in the tradition of black athletes taking a stand for what they believe in.
For Ali, it was the Vietnam War. For Kaepernick, it’s police brutality. You can’t celebrate Ali for his courage and bravery in taking a stand and criticize Kaepernick for doing the same thing. That is, to put it simply, hypocrisy at its finest.