The Knees Have It

A black quarterback took a knee and a white supremacist president lost his mind. Now it’s against NFL policy to take a knee, honoring the feelings of a wounded president over the rights of distinguished players.

It’s a game. I’m talking about white supremacy, not football.

When you cannot handle the sight of black men protesting a flag you’re playing a game called entitlement where advancing paranoia 1 yard is more important than stepping back to ask yourself why these men feel compelled to protest.

This is the dangerous assumption of “both sides are to blame.” In Charlottesville, it cost Heather Heyer her life. In the NFL, it cost Colin Kaepernick his livelihood. In the White House, it gives Donald Trump an opportunity to dance in the end zone, spiking the ball of hatred.


It’s tempting to say we’re out of touch, but we’re not. It’s tempting to encourage all football players to quit the NFL, but who would quit a job like that? Or any job? There’s dignity in work and few are gifted with the right combination of athletic ability, stamina and place in time. In another time they’d be field workers. In another time they’d be soldiers in a war. In another time they’d be slaves. But at this moment in time, they’re millionaires with the envious eye of the world upon them.

Colin Kaepernick took a knee.

I can only imagine how much he misses the job. I know the cause is worthy of the sacrifice as sure as I know this sentence sounds profound. But I don’t think being profound is as much fun as suiting up for a game and pushing yourself to the edge of your ability for a shot at glory, no matter how fleeting the glory.

I’ve asked myself why he took a knee and here’s what I came up with: it’s scary being black, getting coffee being black, driving a car being black, take off the uniform and you’re black, step out of the spotlight and you’re black, don’t reach for Skittles if you’re black, don’t be a black president or we’ll spend 8 years debating where you were born as if to say you were born on a slave ship and so you were never really from here since you were brought here against your will and only those who choose to be here are from here, so know you’re place.

Colin Kaepernick’s place is on the football field leading his team to a shot at the Super Bowl ring. Heather Heyer’s place is at home with her mom sipping coffee and talking about pictures she took at the protest. Donald Trump’s place is in the white house doing the job he won. He did win and I think it’s important for all of us to recognize he won no matter how much we want to kick and scream about impeachment.

If you don’t like it, vote.

Or please be quiet.

Mueller’s place is in the courtroom. But there is no justice in the courtroom. You don’t get justice by pounding a gavel. You get justice by taking a knee but there’s a cost and you can spend the rest of your life waiting for people who don’t get it to say thank you.

Thank you, Colin Kaepernick.

I don’t get it. I’m talking about the policy, not the protest.