“They are so blinded by their victim narrative that they don’t recognize that his very protest was actually an insult to the flag.”
Colin Kaepernick continues to be in the news, though recently it is largely for what he isn’t doing. He was released from the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year, and he has yet to find work despite several tantalizing openings due to roster upheaval and injuries on other teams. This is because many NFL owners and fans did not like how he kneeled for the national anthem. They viewed it as a self-indulgent and disrespectful act that politicized what should have been a nonpolitical event.
But, showing their continued march towards irrelevancy, left leaning commentators like Ryan Clark on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show are now saying Kaepernick is a victim. Without a hint of irony, Clark said that Kaepernick was the “flag bearer” for blacks in America and the NFL. But in order to use that analogy, a person would have to actually respect the flag, and this in turn undermines the narrative that liberals and activists are peddling.
The narrative from activists, race hucksters, and many politicians is that blacks are disproportionately targeted by cops and the judicial system. That they are victims of systemic poverty that leads to crime, and that the root causes and issues that are important to them are not being addressed. This narrative isn’t wholly disconnected from reality, but it’s twisted into an overtly political narrative that often undermines meaningful reform.
Flag bearers are important in history because they often represent the focal point of command and control. The flag was usually close to the commander, and the flag moving forward on the battlefield could communicate an attack when it was too loud for words. It was an honorable tradition to carry the flag, and the enemy often aimed for the flag bearer, which made it the most dangerous spot on the battlefield.
Raising the flag on Iwo Jima became one of America’s most cherished memorials, and seeing the flag through a nightly bombardment supplied our national anthem.
The importance of the flag doesn’t seem lost on Ryan Clarke and other analysts when they compare Kaepernick to a flag bearer. This makes their use of that analogy all the more tone deaf. They are so blinded by their victim narrative that they don’t recognize that his very protest was actually an insult to the flag.
It’s tougher to find people more removed from the poor and supposedly discriminated members of inner cities than professional athletes. Acting macho and street tough is part of their persona, but it’s just as authentic as professional wrestling. These athletes are part of the one percent, who make more money than most Americans and play in taxpayer subsidized stadiums while getting special treatment. I can’t think of an individual more unsuited to lead the supposed civil rights crusade for blacks than a pampered 1% athlete.
But with a black President, Secretary of State, and Supreme Court Justice, it’s tough to argue that racism is worse now than in the past when athletes stood and honored the flag. If Ryan Clarke and other liberal sports analysts want to praise the act of kneeling for the anthem, they should avoid using analogies that underscore the importance of the flag.