The Pop Up Club: I Stand with….neither.

There are some things that I have never weighed in on because of where I lived and the politics of it all, yet I, in my increasingly advanced age, am finding it harder to keep my mouth closed. Yes, even introverted me, has my breaking points, and I reached one of those moments in the aftermath of the supposed “workout” that the NFL was graciously sponsoring for him over the weekend. Let me say a couple of things first:

  1. The reason for his initial protest was just and as American as anything else that we allow to slide in the name of flawed nationalism.
  2. That peaceful protest was hijacked by our President via Twitter and became much more than it was supposed to be.
  3. In the time since, Kaep hasn’t helped his case by being silent and hiding behind the words of others.
  4. The NFL can handle black violence and black ignorance, but can not handle black advocacy.

In case you haven’t been following the proceedings, the NFL, on last Tuesday, “leaked” word of a tryout for Kaepernick at the stadium of the Atlanta Falcons in Flowery Mound, Ga, a staunchly RED state. Per media reports, Kaep was told that he could not reschedule this to a Tuesday, which would allow for more coach and executive interfacing. At the last minute, Kaep’s reps out out a statement that they would be holding the exhibition an hour away at a high school football stadium. 8 NFL representatives were in attendance. After the whole deal was over, Kaep gives a statement that is uber antagonistic toward the very people that he is trying to convince to give him a job.

Now look, Kaep has every right to be angry, confrontational, and aggressive toward the NFL. For all of their posturing, they are still a “good ole boys” club, run by old white men who put on competitive exhibitions every weekend. The fact that they pay these men well does nothing to quell the sentiment that for all intents and purposes, they are “owners”. Their skin in the game is their commitment to keeping African Americans out of ownership and bankrolling the multi-billion dollar enterprise that is American Football.

Yet even as I say this, bruh…how can Kaep say that he wants a job and then back it up with actions that show anything but? It is like he is fishing for any reason to continue the Kaep vs NFL narrative that has been so well covered by the media over the last 3 years. Yes, he deserved to be in the league. They are foul and petty for keeping him out of it. The collusion is evident, even if not provable in a court of law. Yes, you have a right to wear a Kunta Kinte shirt, but you also have a right to smoke a cigarette while you workout. Didn’t choose that other option, did you?

And if your game is that you simply enjoy the battle? I’m here for it. DO you, man. The issue is that you are sending a message to kids who look up to you that bucking the system works everytime, for everyone. The fact it, it does not. The system tramples those who don’t have millions in the bank, or the intelligence to work around the fringes. Advocate. Do you, man. Just make sure that in all of your striving that you are teaching these youngsters how to fish. I have them in my classes, and they don’t want to fish. They want the fish cooked and served on their plates. They want the world handed to them, and many of them quote your fight to get your job back…which in my view is not a fight, but rather a cat and mouse game.

I want Kaep back in the league. I want the NFL humbled. I want Steven A Smith to shut up most times (though he’s so entertaining). I also want my students to learn about the grit of struggle and how overcoming it takes a certain kind of heart and strength. They can learn that from Kaep. I want them to learn that advocacy is necessary, that it is a right of every human being. They can learn that from Kaep.

They can also learn that just because the powers- that- be grant you a right, it is not always a right you should be happy to jump at. They can learn that from Kaep. However, I also hope that they learn that sometimes bucking the system hurts not only you, but everybody around you, and if you’re willing to handle that burden, then Kaep all you want. Kaep hard.

As for me, I’m sick of this whole charade. One of you parties just take your ball and go home.

I’m out.

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