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Editor's Corner: Oppressed stars take the knee

Much ado is being made of nothing — that “nothing” being that some professional football players refuse to stand during the playing of the national anthem before National Football League games.

It really doesn’t matter whether a football player stands, kneels, sits, or lies down and takes a nap during the playing of the national anthem.

Like other Americans, they are in charge of how they appear before others, and if they want to appear as unpatriotic buffoons, that is indeed their right. Many upright people of all races and skin colors, who stood and perhaps still stand when the national anthem was and is played, fought and died so these football players could make good livings playing football and were not accepted into the armed services, where they might risk their lives for others.

These kneelers — most of them — played for colleges, where they were treated like royalty. If they studied, they got free college degrees for playing, which might prepare them to earn good livings after their relatively short careers as pro football players were over.

Most of these kneelers are African Americans who feel sorry for themselves because they perceive that black people are not treated fairly in this country. And they are right. Many black people face discrimination, but their numbers do not include professional football knee-takers, who are treated like kings of Siam if they are any good at what they do.

But there is one pro-football knee-taker who indeed is discriminated against. In fact, he was the original knee-taker who during his one bright season as an NFL quarterback, that of 2013, led the San Francisco 49ers to an NFC championship. Ah, those were the days for Colin Kaepernick — for that is his now very familiar name. He could do no wrong.

But the next three seasons weren’t so good. He could do very little that was right. He spent much time on the bench. His team couldn’t make the playoffs. In the 2016 season, he began “taking a knee” because of what he saw as the oppression of African Americans. For Kaepernick, you see, is half African American.

His father was African American and deserted Colin’s mother, an 18-year-old Irish white woman named Heidi Russo, before he was born to her in 1987, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She put Colin up for adoption, to a couple named Rick and Teresa Kaepernick — who were white. He became the youngest of the three Kaepernick children. He went to high school in Turlock, where he was a standout athlete in football, basketball and baseball. He finally wound up at the University of Nevada, where he received a football scholarship and was an absolute go-getter. He even led his team to a victory over Boise State.

You can see how oppressed he was.

When he graduated from Nevada, he had earned a bachelor’s degree in business management. The oppression against him continued when he was drafted in 2011 by the 49ers.

In the 2014 season, on June 4, Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension with the 49ers, worth up to $126 million, including $54 million in potential guarantees, and $13 million fully guaranteed.

One wonders how he could take it.

Right now, he has nowhere to kneel. Being a free agent, nobody is paying him to play or kneel, or stand up, or do anything except pretend that he has somehow become a spokesman for people of color.

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