To the Editor:
I’m writing about a line in your editorial, “Just do it,” from the Sept. 12 issue.
In it you say that Colin Kaepernick does not have courage because “Courage requires being willing to take a risk and live with the consequences.” Kaepernick took a risk by choosing to kneel. There would have been zero risk involved in just standing for the anthem along with everyone else. Kaepernick lived with the consequences; he faced immense pressure to stop kneeling right up until the moment he was fired from a lucrative job.
You say that someone with true courage aims to help others. Kaepernick took a knee to draw attention to the fact that young men – without platforms such as he had – were at risk of being shot by the police. As an NFL player, he was at little risk personally.
People don’t hate Kaepernick because he’s a coward or because of the flag or because the troops are disrespected. These are excuses for hating him. People hate him because he’s a black man trying to change a status quo that suits most white Americans just fine.
I don’t think there is a single police officer in America that joined the force with the express intent of looking for an opportunity to murder black men. That doesn’t change the fact that police shootings in America are shockingly high – 707 in 2018 as of this writing – and white people are not immune. We’ll all be better off if we can stop these shootings, especially the police. Yelling at people to shut up about it is not helpful.