Oxytocin, Colin Kaepernick and Patriotism

September 13, 2016

Colin Kaepernick wears cops as pigs socks and refuses to stand for the national anthem!

Ask ten people what their idea of patriotism is and you will get ten different answers based on a singular fundamental truth. Patriotism is a way to show gratitude, love, and devotion for your country. Now, different men have different ways of demonstrating that. For one man it is taking off his cap at a baseball game during the national anthem. For another man it is putting down his beer and standing during the anthem, his hand over his heart, while taking a moment to think about all of the great things his country is doing at home and around the world. For another man it is not even attending an expensive sports event because after paying his fair share of taxes, he can’t afford to.

What does patriotism look like to Colin Kaepernick? Let me step back and unpack, socially and critically, what Mr. Kaepernick’s demonstration of patriotism looks like to young kids watching him.

Mr. Kaepernick, by declining to stand up on your affluent legs and placing a ligament torn hand across your millionaire’s heart during the national anthem before tens of thousands of impressionable boys and girls, fathers and mothers, vets and nobodies who bought expensive tickets to watch you play, you have done little more than diminish the your country, your team, your sport, your co-athletes—of every color—and the men who hired you and pay your non-refundable salary. That’s right, twelve million bucks a year; a million bucks ($1,000,000) per month: two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250.000) per week, thirty five thousand plus ($35,000+) per day, one thousand four hundred, and eighty five dollars and thirty three cents ($1,485.33) per hour to show up, hit your marks and look good in the close up. It is not wearing pig socks with cops caps on them. Really? Mr. Kaepernick, you are not a runway model, you are a second string jock, what you think about the cops doesn’t really matter, does it?

Of course it does. You are sitting—when you should be standing—on a huge media platform. Loose the socks. You are well paid to distract us from such flagrant disrespect, not exemplify it. You are an athlete, an ambassador for the San Francisco 49ers; your prime-time job is athletic prowess. Throw the ball. Your fading accuracy aside, you are not there to coach the young minds of the children of your fans in the stands who just want to scream their lungs out over some socially irrelevant game. Stop trying to drag them into your theater of the incongruous. It is not your right to buzzkill a sports event with your oxytocin disadvantaged moral imperative and misplaced intentions that only serves to remind we “ignoramuses” about what is wrong with the world.

What is next? I have personally had enough of attention deprived athletes co-opting the media for another fifteen minutes. There are better ways to elevate the awareness of the people of the world who spend big bucks to watch grown men knock the wind out of each other for shits and giggles and a boatload of money, than wearing socks that say cops are pigs. I am not a cop but methinks that you are the pig, gobbling up the optimism of real social change like so many truffles. Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light? Oink.

Stand up and show some respect! The American flag is not the enemy. The great cops of the nation are not the enemy. It may not be too late. Yes, you have lost face by committing an ambassadorial error based on an absence of moral authority, but this is America and if we do one thing really well it is to forgive, probably because we secrete so much oxytocin.

Question. What are you? Are you black? Hispanic? Black and white? Hispanic and white? It is hard to tell. Okay, it doesn’t matter but whatever your DNA profile indicates, you will not recapture the prowess you once had on the playing field with this sort of behavior. It is really unpatriotic and un-oxytocin-ish.

If anything the pig socks only calls more attention to the fact that you are no longer what you once were, a splendid role model. Do you really want that? Colin, you are in the strike zone of Team Passé, a second string guy with bad hands and messed up shoulder whose idea of patriotism is conflating police brutality with playing a silly ball game. I submit that your reach exceeds your grasp, both off and on the field. Yes, that was a pun. Your behavior is ugly and embarrassing. You want to honor African/American exceptionalism, first reach in to your pocket and take a snort of oxytocin accelerator nasal spray, then, if you get the chance throw for a touchdown and devote it to one of the many innocent black men who have been mowed down by white-cop-racist bullets. Then take a page out of Michael Jordan’s playbook and send some of your considerable assets to the Institute for Community-Police relations. Maybe even the families of 102 unarmed black people killed in 2015. How about one month salary—a million bucks? That would be $9,803.92 cents per family. No? A weeks pay? A day? An hour? I can just see you now, you shrinking down in your seat, digging in with passive aggression like some fading athlete on the edge of being forgotten.

You’re a quarterback dude, don’t get caught flatfooted, be proactive, hit some nasal oxytocin and connect with the ball, be a uniting presence to your fans, build bridges—not walls—take another snort and show us out here in fan land why black men are usually the most awesome athletes on and off the football field, gyms and even in the oval office. If there is one thing that you can do to bring us together it is that.

To be fair, Mr. Kaepernick you have right to say and do whatever you want. Who knows, I may be totally wrong and we may all be better off as a nation for your protest. It is totally your right but pig socks are inelegant. Again, I evoke, Michael “I can no longer stay silent” Jordan, who after a period of conspicuous silence (decades) finally spoke out about the targeting of African Americans when he signed two checks of a million bucks each to the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The ballpoint pen is in your court Mr. Kaepernick. Show some real patriotic gratitude.