Sitting To Stand

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In May 1987 I was very proud to co-star in a film called "Amazing Grace and Chuck," written by David Field, directed by Mike Newell, scored by Elmer Bernstein and also starring Gregory Peck. It was released by Columbia Pictures.

It tells the story of a young boy in Montana, Chuck, who, after seeing a nuclear missile silo on a school field trip, decides that he needs to give up his best thing, being the star picture for his Little League team, as a protest to the world until there are no more nuclear weapons.

Of course, it takes great courage for him to do so in his small town, where everyone was relying on him for Little League victory and it makes the front page in his small town newspaper. It then ultimately makes its way to the back page of a big newspaper on the East Coast where a basketball player named Amazing Grace Smith, think Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and played by NBA star Alex English, sees the story about this kid and flies to Montana to meet with him.

Amazing Grace then returns to Boston and the Celtics and announces to the world that HE too is giving up his "best thing" and suspends playing basketball until there are no more nuclear weapons. He is met with vitriol and derision and hatred and spew and and and but then, other professional sports figures start to join in his protest.


I am not African-American. I am not a professional athlete, but I am a compassionate human being and feel and hear and see what Colin Kaepernick is trying to bring to our attention.

They all gather in Montana and the movement continues. The story gets dark, Amazing Grace is killed by those who hate him and what he is standing for and what he is denying the money makers in professional sports and Chuck, in response to his death, keeps on with his protest and expands it and stops talking. No talking at all. Then, children all around the world, who have followed the protest, stop talking as their own protest until there are no more nuclear weapons. At the end of this film fable, the American President, Gregory Peck, meets with the Russian Premier and starts unilateral disarmament.

I support police officers and Armed Forces and veterans and their individual and collective service and sacrifice to this country. I am not African-American. I am not a professional athlete, but I am a compassionate human being and feel and hear and see what Colin Kaepernick is trying to bring to our attention.

I heard Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the radio. He too protested and supported other professional athletes, like Muhammad Ali, who protested the Vietnam War, other people who had "a lot to lose."

I support the right to question this country. It is the foundation of what it means to be an American. The building cacophony of protest and disobedience based on systematic racism and racial profiling is growing and it is embodied in this young man's refusal to stand. He IS standing up by staying down for something he believes needs our attention and THAT is the basis for the REVOLUTION that founded this country.