It sure seems like Colin Kapernick has traded his values for money. Understandable to many, since sixty to eighty million dollars is a lot of money. I cannot say I blame him. It is a lot of money, but I had hoped for a change. I thought he was teaching Americans that there were things worth more than money.
It is how things have gotten changed in this country. In the past, people like Muhammad Ali suffered for their beliefs. It lends credence to their righteousness that they refuse the money to fight for what is right. Men like Tommie Smith and John Carlos paid a high price for bringing their message to the people. People like me, a young kid growing up in America and seeing people sacrifice money and careers for their beliefs started to think deeply about what mattered.
Despite the fact that few remember Smith and Carlos, I remembered. Their sacrifice for what was right meant something to me. Kapernick should never have allowed this case to be settled out of court. The court room would have been a podium from which to sound the alarm about police brutality and the racist verses of our national anthem. The fact that Kapernick is willing to take money to stop protesting and end his case is sad and tragic. Of course, he wants to play football. He is a football player. Ali wanted to fight, but he won the fight in the court room before regaining the heavyweight championship.
Is it coincidence that after the successful “blackwashing” of the Super Bowl ends discussion about police brutality and racism, Kapernick settles? Does Kapernick owe anything to the boy arrested for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance? Does Kapernick owe anything to the rapper, Willie McCoy, shot for sleeping in his car while black? No, he does not.
Certainly not in a world ruled by money, Kapernick must take care of his own. However, I thought, I hoped for, an America woken again by his self-sacrifice. His refusal to trade his beliefs and values for money would have, could have, stood for something that rang through the generations. Instead he has knelt before the almighty dollar. That is the lesson and the message delivered.