Drew Brees, Kate Upton, Trent Dilfer, Lee Zeldin, Rob Lowe, Tony Stewart. These are just some of the well known sports/entertainment/political figures who opted to use their platform to exercise their first amendment right to discuss — or in most cases disparage — Colin Kaepernick’s protest. Yet now they have opted to use the do not disturb card when the nation needs more voices than ever.
Since Colin Kaepernick’s protest at least 15 black people have died during encounters with the police, a number that is rising everyday. On Monday, the cause for Kaepernick’s protest was back in the news again after police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released multiple videos that showed the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, only to be continued into Tuesday with the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Every day, another statistic is added, another family ruined, and another unnecessarily tragic victim trending ― trending everywhere but the timelines of Kaepernick’s most notable critics.
You see, I don’t think everyone should feel obliged to speak up. You have every right to choose wether to exercise your first amendment right or not. But if you DO opt to speak out, when a man decides to exercise his first amendment right to protest the treatment of black Americans in this country, you have influenced American minds, you are now part of the conversation. So why are these same significant figures silent when two more unarmed black men are shot and killed? Why are they suddenly speechless?
I’ll tell you why. Because the why is not what they’re up in arms about. They’re not outraged by the why. Questioning why he was protesting is a far more rigorous process than simply discrediting a mans patriotsim, and so they deflect to the redundant points of concern, who, what and where.
Who is protesting? Kaepernick, he’s just a backup QB.
What is he doing? Kneeling, how dare he.
Where was he doing it? On the football field ― how despicable.
What about why he was doing this? Where is your opinion on that? You chose to enter the conversation so please, humor me?
Some could say they haven’t been active on Twitter as of yet and need time to process the situation and then voice their point of view, but that would be bullshit. Take Rob Lowe’s Twitter timeline for example. He has no problem dishing out his two cents on the suspect in custody over the bombing in New York ― neither does Lee Zeldin. So what about Terrence Crutcher? What about Keith Lamont Scott?
After all, Terence Crutcher is why Kaepernick kneeled. Alton Sterling is why Kaepernick kneeled. Philando Castile is why Kaepernick kneeled. The current epidemic sweeping America is why Kaepernick kneeled. So where are the wagging tongues now?
Kaepernick has continued his conversation. Those who supported Kaepernick have continued their conversation, because they knew that it was bigger than just taking a side. They knew it was about more than just believing in his cause or supporting his protest. It was always about the issue at hand. The racial injustices in America was always their focus, regardless of the messenger.
We need this conversation to continue. We need more voices than ever to condemn these unlawful and ruthless acts. We need protests. We need kneeling. We need open dialogue, for and against, to increase the chance of reaching a solution. From Black, White, Asian, Hispanic. All voices. So if you, Kate Upton, Drew Brees, Lee Zeldin, Trent Dilfer, Tony Stewart, Rob Lowe, were brave enough to speak out against Colin Kaepernick when you could safely ignore the police violence he was protesting, then you should be brave enough to speak out now, when there are bodies in the streets. Because otherwise, your silence speaks volumes.