Count Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis as one of many professional athletes who have spoken out publicly on San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Kaepernick’s choice to sit during the national anthem.
Lewis has been known to go into black communities in the city of Baltimore for example and help pay rent and mortgages for those in need. Lewis reaches out to those who are homeless all the time in the city.
Lewis recently even helped create Power 52 in Maryland which is a company that helps in the following ways with those who have low income. So when it comes to helping those in need, Lewis is more than helpful.
So when Lewis went on Fox Sports 1 yesterday and spoke on the situation with Kaepernick and Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and the racism that exists in this country in the direction of black people in particular, Lewis said the following:
Ray Lewis on Colin Kaepernick. Respect everyone's opinion. Talk it out. I would love to see them talk to each other. pic.twitter.com/eXTadsUkvA— Brian H. Waters (@BrianHWaters) September 8, 2016
I have a lot of respect for Ray Lewis and I agree with most of what he said which can be seen in full at the end of this article. And I also agree with Ray in what he said in his criticism of Cam Newton on race as well which can be seen here.
But I have to say, I respectfully disagree with Ray on this one stance with Kaepernick when he said that Colin should leave the flag out it.
Kaepernick has said he is not disrespecting the military and that has never been his intention. But some people continue to insist that he is. People are creating their own assumptions - what the flag means to them instead of what it means to others - instead of really looking at it from Kaepernick’s viewpoint.
There have been countless of military members who have been in support of Kaepernick but some people want to believe that all military members feel disrespected by Kaepernick’s stance to make their own opinion more valid and justified. I’m not saying that is what Ray Lewis is doing because I don’t believe that is the case, but there are many who are.
As a black person, I’m just tired of people saying things like, “there’s no need to disrespect the flag” or “take the flag out of it” or that “Kaepernick could have found another way to protest”.
I’m especially sick and tired of people saying that Kaepernick could have found a better way to protest.
The reality of the situation is, when you look at the history of this country, nothing has people more divided than black people fighting to be treated equally. Anytime black people speak out on social issues that negatively impact their community, there is always a push back. There’s always a deflection. There are always excuses and some people always tell black people to get over it and move on.
From the very beginning in this country, when black people fought against slavery there was push back from a good number of white people. When black people were fighting to be considered more than 3/5 of a person, there was push back from a good number of white people.
When black people created Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 20th century to create an economy in their community due to segregation, there was push back. Not only was there push back, Tulsa was burned to the ground on June, 1st of 1921 by white supremacists with over 2,500 black people tortured or killed and hundreds of businesses in that city lost. Remember that the next time someone tells Kaepernick and other black people to stop worrying about police brutality and racism and go fix their own community instead.
After that when black people fought for the United States in WWII, many of those who survived and returned home were not greeted with open arms, but were greeted with push back. Many black soldiers were ignored, segregated against and some were even beaten despite defending the flag that some people seem to covet so much today.
When black people fought against segregation that existed for most of the 20th century, there was push back. When Muhammad Ali returned to his home state after being awarded Olympic gold representing the United States, he was pushed back as he wasn’t even allowed to eat in a white restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky which played into Ali speaking out on social issues that relate to his race even more.
Time and time again including in the past few years, we have seen many criticize movements that bring awareness to the black community especially the movement that is Black Lives Matter.
When people bring protests to the streets, there is push back. When there is a peaceful protest, there is push back. I never seen a time in my life where a black person could speak out on a social issue that impacts their community and try to bring peace without receiving some kind of push back for it.
So when people say that Kaepernick could have found a better way to protest, what way would that be that black people like Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, John Carlos, Tommy Smith and many others who came before Kaepernick didn’t do? What way could Kaepernick find that those other black people couldn’t find and at the same time have people who want to listen?
When Kaepernick speaks out on the flaws that occur in the United States, some tell him to move out of the country. But at the same time, presidential candidates have been much more divisive about minorities and still receive support.
At some point, some people have to be honest with themselves and realize that there are those who do not want to see equality even some in high ranking positions. There are those who are mad that black people are protesting in general as opposed to the reasons why there is a protest in the first place.
But for those who are all of a sudden patriotic, continue to be mad about the United States flag and the national anthem possibly being disrespected in your eyes as opposed to being mad about all living human beings who struggle, receive hate and be a fake patriot at the same time. It is amazing how a cloth can have so many people outraged.
I have seen more outrage in the last few weeks over a flag than I have seen with the coverage of a young man raping a woman and getting out of jail (not prison) in three months.
I have seen more media outlets willing to call out Kaepernick’s character with edgy headlines over a flag than I have seen media outlets willing to call Brock Turner a convicted rapist in their headlines. Instead, media outlets in their headlines call Brock Turner a “swimmer” when he is actually a rapist.
Even those who serve in the military do not get the respect that the United States flag does. Many veterans do not have the healthcare in this country that is required for them to survive. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day yet that doesn’t get outrage from many.
But some of those same people who are all of the sudden patriotic (and most likely sit in their chair when the national anthem is played on TV) don’t have an outrage for those veterans committing suicide. Instead, they show compassion for a flag.
Imagine if some people had the same compassion they do for a flag as they should for another human being? At the very least, wouldn’t this country be even better?