Kaepernick And The Anthem

One Side Fits All

For the next many weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to tune into HBO and see one of the most vile, biased, pieces of reporting ever produced for television. It involves the hottest debate in America; whether or not people should and/or have the right to sit or stand while the National Anthem is being played.

Find “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” and DVR it. Watch the first segment and ask yourself “is this a fair piece of reporting?” I challenge you to answer in the affirmative.

For the record, I love the show and it has done amazing work in its’ 20 years on air. It was first to truly bring to light the issue of concussions and the NFL. Real Sports also pulled back the curtain on how overtly and disgustingly racist European soccer games are. They highlight amazing things, people and stories and do so in a journalistic way. At least they usually do. Not this month.

While covering the story of Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem, there is no other side, no other point of view and no attempt at furthering any sort of conversation. The take away from the piece is simple; good for Colin, America needs to get in line, and cops are murderers. Oh, and the National Anthem is stupid and an antiquated cliché. Don’t believe me? Watch the piece.

Bryant Gumbel personally anchors the piece and repeatedly refers to Kaepernick’s “valid points about police brutality,” despite 70% of Americans not believing he has a valid point when he says that “people are being murdered on the streets (by cops).” Gumbel also uses examples like Freddy gray in Baltimore to make his point that blacks are being murdered by cops, even though all six officers involved in the Freddy Gray incident (three of whom were African American themselves) have been exonerated entirely by juries of their peers.

Gumbel also interviews one, and only one, African American during the piece; a smear merchant named Howard Bryant who I’ve had the displeasure of having shoved down my throat for the past decade as a columnist and ESPN commentator. Bryant is as racist as they come and believes that everything and anything is done for reasons of color. He believes America is an evil country that remains biased in every way and he has the audacity to speak for “the black community” even though many of his claims are provably false.

At one point, Bryant points out what, to be fair, some other blacks have said; that in the “black community,” for the past 30 years they’ve been discussing the fact that the “police are not your friends.” Well, the problem with that is that while it may be his reality, it’s not the reality of many others. For example, it was news to one of my best friends who is both black and a cop. It was also news to another African American friend of mine who grew up somewhere between poor and lower class and said he’d never had such a conversation with his family or friends ever. None of that matters, of course, because they and anyone of color who disagree with the narrative will simply be called “Uncle Tom’s,” or told that they are not “authentically black.”

As a man in love with an African American woman I can say candidly that my eyes have been opened to various things I took for granted or did not realize over the past 7 months of being with Christina. We have spoken honestly about the overt racism that still exists in America and the stunning lack of acceptance, on the part of some, still, of interracial couples. What has been most eye opening, though, has been a front row seat to the black on black verbal crime that exists to a level I never realized. They’re almost worse than women, who are the meanest people on Earth to each other.

Too many African Americans are not allowed to be successful, intelligent, articulate, or a certain shade of brown lest they be told they’re not down with the struggle. And God forbid if they’re half black, half white because then they’re just traitors. Unless they’re Colin Kaepernick, of course, because he says and does all of the right things in furthering the racism of this country.

Kaepernick has every right to kneel during the National Anthem and we have every right to judge him for such. The campaign now is to remove that right from us by shaming us and publicly changing the narrative to “if you don’t agree with him, you like dead blacks.”

Two things I will credit the report with are as follows: Gumbel gets the history of the National Anthem exactly right and factually correct. He also reveals how Kaepernick went from sitting to kneeling; it was the result of a meeting he had a with a former Green Beret who suggested to Colin that sitting was disrespectful to those who serve and vets, but kneeling was a thing that all soldiers do at various times, most notably to honor the fallen. Kaepernick, to his credit, agreed. The Green Beret, to his credit, was the much bigger man to even take the meeting and it’s a shame Kaepernick didn’t learn more from being in his amazing presence.

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