I’m going to please no one in expressing what I think about this.
We should be taking police violence seriously. I think most police do. And certainly, the man can express himself how he wants. But let’s look at the context.
Kapernick was an overhyped quarterback who was on the cusp on winning something under very talented coach Jim Harbaugh, but he was never able to round out his game. He had trouble getting plays off in time. I don’t think he ever mastered a real NFL offense. As a result, he was benched for a guy who would be the third stringer on a lot of teams.
Now suddenly he is woke?
Without getting into all of the silly questions about his level of “privilege” and his complicated racial identity, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say all of this is just part of some soul searching he’s been doing. He still fucked up.
Why? By choosing to exercise his speech in the way he did he guaranteed that all he would do is give each side in this particular culture war fuel for their fires. Linking patriotism to police violence and the like has always been a strange choice to me. Why aren’t the victims symbolized by the flag? They were Americans. Why are the people you’re protesting symbolized by the flag? They were bad Americans. This I don’t understand. The only linkage here is that in the tribes of the American culture wars, one side has claimed the flag and the other has not.
So now one side can say, “See?!?!!111? These people HATE America!!!”
In the current lexicon on the left, I can be accused of all kinds of neologisms for this opinion: whitesplaining, tone policing, and so on. But in reality, I just don’t like it when a laudable goal is pursued with bad strategy. Again, he’s free to do what he wants, but if the goal here is really to change the debate, he did it wrong. The people that need persuading here, for one thing, are largely white. Most minorities already get it.
If you want to make change you have to be hyper-aware of the reactions and consequences not just to your statement or action, but to your persona, your circumstances and understand how it will look even if those aren’t genuine reflections of how you feel.
I would also add that the last thing we need in this country is more divisiveness. It’s to the point now where bad policies will be pursued just in order to “slap down” actions like this regardless of whether it’s going to be good or bad for policing.
We all need to start giving each other a break.