NASCAR drivers chime in on Colin Kaepernick controversy so I’m giving my take
Fellow football players, athletes in other sports, sports reporters and commentators, fans — you name it; they all seem to have an opinion one way or the other on this whole Colin Kaepernick controversy. In case you’re unaware of it — in which case you must be living under a rock or something, no offense — San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the National Anthem before a game recently.
Athletes all over professional sports have chimed in, some via social media, some via interviews. So, why shouldn’t NASCAR drivers be any different. At least three drivers/former drivers — Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski and Michael Waltrip — gave their two cents via Twitter.
I sure didn’t expect a tweet from one of them to get attention from TMZ, though. Of course, given the event — and I won’t even bring it up here — of 2014 pretty much everything Stewart does or says that may ruffle some feathers gets mainstream media attention. And I use the term “mainstream media” loosely when referring to TMZ.
It could be said that Stewart didn’t mince words. And really, would we expect him to. When has Stewart not told us exactly what he though. Anyway, here’s what Stewart had to say, via Twitter, Monday:
“I’m sorry but @Kaepernick7
needs to learn the fact about police before running his dumbass mouth! He has no clue what they go thru! #idot” — @TonyStewart
Afterward, Stewart engaged in an argument of sorts with folks who disagreed before finally sending out this clarification of his thoughts:
“For the record, I’m not saying our nation isn’t messed up, just that police officers are not the root of the problem. They take the blame.”
Meanwhile, Keselowski (@Keselowski
) tweeting some “thumbs up” emojis in response to Stewart’s tweet and engaged in a Twitter convo with fellow-tweeters.
Here’s Waltrip’s take on the issue:
“I stood proudly over 1,000 times @NASCAR
races and saluted our flag. It’s never been about me. It’s about honoring those who’ve given all” — @MW55
Here’s my take for what it’s worth (probably less than two cents):
I recognize Kaepernick’s right to protest by way of sitting during the Anthem. In this country, he has that right. Does that mean I have to agree with his actions? No. Do I agree? No. And, also, in this country, that’s my right. I have a couple of reasons for my opinion.
I think Kaepernick’s going about this all wrong. He claims his protest is about police brutality against people of color and says he would continue to sit during the “Star Spangled Banner.”
I’m not so sure that’s going to accomplish his goal.
By sitting out the Anthem, doesn’t it seem like he’s protesting American patriotism, not violence against people of color? That’s how it seems to me.
“I have great respect for our men and women that fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have fought for this country,” Kaepernick recently said.
Really? By protesting the flag/Anthem, aren’t you saying the opposite? Instead of protesting violence against people of color, doesn’t this action, instead, protest the reason he has the right to protest? Ever heard that old saying that goes something like, “cutting off your nose to spite your face?” I think this is an example of that.
Also, I don’t think this protest of his is going to achieve his desired result, or at least what he claims is his desired result. I’ve read comments from some of his supporters claiming that his protest is succeeding in bringing attention to the issue of violence against people of color. But is it really?
Sure, his protest is gaining all kinds of attention, but from what I’ve seen, read and heard the last several days, it’s not bringing attention to the violence. Instead, it’s bringing attention to patriotism, a lack of patriotism and/or whether or not it’s kosher for someone to sit during the playing of the National Athem. I think the violence discussion has gotten lost, unless you want to count the talks of violence some think should be inflicted on Kaepernick for his actions.
Personally, I think Kaepernick is figuratively shooting himself in the foot with his choice of protest method. He seems to be protesting the reason he has the freedom to protest. And, quite frankly, his protest is overshadowing what he’s protesting. There has to be a better way for him to get his point across. I don’t think he’s found that way yet.