Colin Kaepernick, A Misunderstood Genius and Roger Goddell’s Faux Pas

By Samuel O. Doku (Oct. 7, 2016)

Colin Kaepernick graciously takes a knee bow to raise more awareness about police brutality against young black men.

Colin Kaepernick right, joined by a teammate, graciously takes a knee bow to raise more awareness about police brutality against young black men.

Since the beginning of the 2016/17 National Football League season, Colin Kaepernick, the highly intelligent quarterback, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl four years ago, has been kneeling when the Star Spangled Banner is being played in protest against police brutality and over all discrimination against the subaltern in the country.

Kaepernick’s firm conviction is that when the very people who have sworn to protect their citizenry turn out to be loose cannons fatally sweeping life out of a section of the population, not because of any crimes they have committed but merely because they look different, something must be fundamentally wrong with the microcosmic law enforcement officers who tote their handguns at the least provocation.

Now, this is not to argue that all cops are racially biased; Kaepernick’s protest is against the copy-cat fatal shootings of mostly young black men by a few policemen in South Carolina, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Minnesota to Maryland and Washington, DC.

Kaepernick on an occasion, symbolically wore socks with the image of pigs to juxtapose the behavior of the few cops that have cataracts in their eyes so are blinded with, as Secretary Hillary Clinton calls it, “implicit bias” and refuse to see anything good and gracious about the black body to George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

In Animal Farm, the pigs consider themselves superior to all the animals on the farm, and so they treat them pejoratively. In this sense, you see where Kaepernick is coming from, right?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell tries to intimidate Kaepernick to stop his act of civil disobedience.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell tries to intimidate Kaepernick to stop his act of civil disobedience.

There are some, who see Kaepernick’s non-compliance as unpatriotic, even disrespectful to the valiant men and women in uniform, who sacrificed and still sacrifice for individuals to enjoy the unparalleled liberties this nation offers.

Hear NFL Commissioner, Roger Goddell expressing his exasperation in USA Today: “. . .. I think it’s important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better, for law enforcement, and for our military who are fighting for our freedoms and for our ideals.”

Goddell’s comments are clearly couched in white supremacist discourse because his comments suggest that Kaepernick, through his altruistic concern for members of his race, is unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag, law enforcement, and the nation at large. Indeed, Goddell seems to have forgotten that the idea of a republic is to protect the freedom of the minority from being trampled on by the majority.

In fact, in the absence of a coercive power to control the actions of its subjects, humans become solitary, brutish, violent, and incomprehensible, to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes. Many of the cops who fatally shoot black men go scot-free, and that is the basis of Kaepernick’s civil disobedience act.

Goddell has forgotten that black soldiers who fought in World War I returned to a still segregated America, and when they went looking for jobs, they were attacked by white mobs, leading to the Red Summer of 1919? Still, in 1945 during WW II, there was segregation in the military. It was not until the Tuskegee Airmen had facilitated victory for the Allied Forces through their bravado, brilliance, and sheer wizardry in the air than the military was desegregated and decolonized after the war.

What Goddell must realize is that everybody appreciates efforts by law enforcement in protecting society except perhaps the criminally insane, so to suggest that Kaepernick has no reverence for the flag and law enforcement is a faux pas. All Kaepernick wants is for Police Unions to do something about those of their members who think they can kill the subaltern and go scot-free.

Kaepernick’s altruism is borne out of the proverbial American munificent spirit, ever willing invariably to help those in need. Young black men are in need, and Kaepernick has come to their aid, and I don’t think anybody, including Goddell should have any problems with that. Surely, Kaepernick will stop when he feels the time is ripe for him to do so.




About Dr. Sam Doku
Dr. Samuel O. Doku is a professor and a writer. He earned his Ph.D. in English with concentration in African American Literature from Howard University. He is a W.E.B. Du Bois scholar whose book is titled Cosmopolitanism in the Fictive Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois: Toward the Realization of a Revolutionary Art. His articles have been published on Google Scholar, in the International Journal of English Language, Literature and Humanities, and College English Association Magazine (CEAMAG).