Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

The NFL has done it again. In an effort to stand unified, its players and coaches have all allowed President Donald Trump to execute a well-timed and immaculate pick-six. I can just imagine Colin Kaepernick sitting in front of his flat-screen television, smacking his forehead and saying, “How did this happen? I just wanted to raise awareness about the mistreatment of black people.” Even the ever-loquacious Michael Bennett, defensive lineman for Seattle Seahawks, who recently alleged he had been assaulted by police in Las Vegas after the Mayweather/McGregor fight, was fooled by Trump’s defensive scheme and last-second audible.

There was never strictly an anthem or flag protest; it was initially a move to not show pride in a flag or country that seemingly oppresses people of color. Notwithstanding, the public and politicians have twisted Kaepernick’s message of police brutality and racial inequality into something that closely resembles treason, or better yet, un-American. Kaepernick’s message was simple: raise awareness for the issues people of color face in America. He pleaded that the focus of his protest center on the message and not controversy.

What does Kaepernick’s protest have to do with the national anthem or the beloved American flag? It seems as if it is too difficult to see where one end of the topic begins and the other ends. Moreover, Americans can’t help themselves; they love controversy. Kaepernick’s attempt to provide a voice for the voiceless has now been nearly silenced and the message nearly unrecognizable, thank you, NFL, and now Trump, who believes this controversy has nothing to do with race. You have all served your nation well on such an important issue that has now been benched because of bad play-calling.

As the NFL has aggressively sought to remain apolitical — because the “shield” serves no man — the players, and even the commissioner, find themselves on the opposite side of racial justice.

Initially many questioned if Kaepernick had thought things all the way through concerning his peaceful protest. I now ask, “Has the NFL thought things all the way through? Has the NFL educated itself on all the matters that have led to whether it is American to protest, now, the national anthem and flag? The answer should be very clear, right? A year ago, it was to Kaepernick.

Cameron McCoy