The latest cover of Sports Illustrated is being ripped by Steph Curry and others for a glaring omission. The words, “A Nation Divided Sports United” is plastered on the front along with a Photoshopped image of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Roger Goddell, Steve Kerr, Aaron Rodgers, Shad Khan and several other sports figures locking arms or looking stoic.
Noticeably absent from the cover is Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL QB who birthed debate over “acceptable” behavior during national anthem recitals when he decided to sit or kneel during them last season. For Colin, refusing to stand was a means of bringing awareness to the inequality of treatment for Black and Brown people by law enforcement.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said back in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Since then, kneeling, sitting, stretching, sleeping … doing anything other than standing during The National Anthem has irked folks that, well, probably voted for Donald Trump. Trump as usual, noticed there were a lot of his supporters bothered by famous Black men calling for equality, so to create distraction from his failures as a leader, he threw them a bone last Friday.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said during a Luther Strange rally in Alabama. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
Let’s be clear: this feud is GOOD for Trump. Like majorly good. It creates a national debate which distracts from his family using private emails for official White House business (‘Lock them up!’), a failure to get a wall built, or health care legislation passed or a resolution that actually deters North Korea from doing North Korea type-ish. And by calling Kaepernick, and other athletes tired of seeing police officers murder minorities with complete immunity, “sons of bitches,” Trump stokes the pending race war those very fine folks in Charlottesville are salivating over.
Which is why the Kaepernick omission from the SI cover is particularly baffling. This is all BECAUSE OF HIM and his decision to protest and speak up for what he feels is right. Even Steph Curry blasted the cover. “That was terrible,” Curry said when asked about the SI artwork. “…If you don’t have (Kaepernick) front and center, something’s wrong.”
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr backed his point guard, saying he didn’t understand how Colin wasn’t on the cover either. Kap isn’t the only important person missing from the cover. When he first took a knee, Megan Rapinoe was the next athlete to follow. She’s a White professional soccer player for US National Team and Seattle Reign FC.
And then you have to wonder why Shad Khan did make the cover when he donated $1 million to Trump’s campaign. Sure, it’s nice that he locked arms with his players in LONDON on Sunday, but Trump was a racist, bigot back when Khan handed him a fat check last year.
Whether you stand or not during the national anthem is an individual decision. Still, following these protests, how great would it be if we all stood during the anthem, and stood proudly. This country BELONGS TO US just much as it does anyone at a Luther Strange or Trump rally. And by standing now, at this point, when we’re expected not to, we’re telling Trump and all his supporters through actions that, “We are real Americans. Free to kneel one week, and stand the next. We’re more patriotic than you ever could hope to be because we understand what this country is really all about. трахаться!” That last bit is Russian for “F*ck off” in case you’re wondering.