When Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest of police brutality and killings of unarmed black men, he lost his job for his actions. Since then, at least 378 black Americans lost their lives at the hands of the police, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.
When Kaepernick first sat and then took a knee in 2016, the NFL stripped him of his contract for “disrespecting the American flag” but these damning statistics show that his peaceful protest, which was later followed by several other players, was for the prevalent pandemic that is nowhere near solution.
What is more horrifying is that the number may even be higher than 378, since the data only comprises of black men killed in shootings and does not include individuals like Eric Garner, a black father who was unarmed when killed in a fatal chokehold by an officer. Furthermore, the data also has 253 entries where the victim’s race is unspecified.
Collectively, at least 3,357 people have been killed by the police since 2015, according to The Washington Post’s data.
The numbers, which highlight police brutality and racial profiling by officers, came just as the NFL announced they would fine teams and players if they refused to stand during the national anthem, citing it gives the impression of “un-patriotism.”
Instead of working on the core of the problem aka police brutality, President Donald Trump even proposed the idea of deporting players who peacefully protest these brutal killings
“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms,” Trump said. “But still, I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Colin Kaepernick kneeling should have led to a real conversation about police brutality. Instead it led to a bunch of faux patriots dictating who does and doesn't support the military. And the NFL owners bought right into it.— Jake Dawson (@jdny2) May 23, 2018
However, many would consider fining an American citizen for peacefully protesting for a cause as “un-patriotic.”
In 2017, Trump also said he would like NFL owners to fire anyone who is found kneeling during the national anthem.
Even though, it is not disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem, said Nate Boyer, a former U.S. Green Beret.
In fact, Boyer was the one who inspired San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick to hold this form of protest, citing “soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother's grave, you know, to show respect.”
So, instead of focusing on punishing players, who are in no way breaking the law or disrespecting the flag, the president should focus on hundreds of African-Americans fallen victim to police brutality over the years.
Police accountability, rather than deporting players, would likely solve the kneeling “problem” for Trump.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Reuters, Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports