Attorney Antonio Moore evaluates Lebron James and Colin Kaepernick in context of racial tensions in America. Moore delves into the Lebron James I Promise School, Kaepernick taking a knee, and several other racial issues surrounding sports in America. Moore looks at whether sports professional can fight racial injustice, and be global ambassadors for sports that so often represent themselves as post-racial.
Excerpt: In America today so much of sport is more about the bread and circus than the art of competition. The ringleader of the circus can’t stand up to the crowd and scream there is no bread, and once he does the circus can no longer have him lead the show. Whether they say it or not, this is where the NFL stands with Kaepernick. From sponsorships to community activities, the overarching theme of modern sports is to portray the best vision of America, not the truth of its urban ghettos.
As I have stated before, sports today plays the role of a decadent veil, particularly in relation to covering the economic problems of the black community. A community in dire need of social equity has been sold on hooking its dreams on hoops and gridiron, leaving little room for anything else. Football’s war on the minds of black men is real, and Kaepernick’s protest and the league’s reaction points it out in a real way. It becomes increasingly obvious when, in a quarterback-hungry league, owners begin to look for any way out, including pointing to a vegan diet as a way to slip by the ire of its most conscious fans.
So when Kaepernick knelt during an NFL game, I knew his days were numbered. How can a league built on feel-good stories of overcoming the odds have a franchise quarterback pointing out the reality that hardly anyone overcomes the odds?
When Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
He also was standing up to a system built on ignoring the reality of race in our great nation. A system built on chokeholds of the Eric Garners of the world, rough rides in the paddy wagon experienced by all the Freddie Grays, and the untold stories of the Walter Scotts shot in the back while only trying not to go back to prison. Kap, when you stand up for these issues little white kids in suburban America can no longer hang your jersey next to their copy of the shield carried by Cap from the Avengers. You lose your status as a superhero when you become vocal, and you instead make yourself into a real problem for the money making engine called the NFL.
So #Istandwithkap, the issue is you can’t be Kap on one knee and play football. Gone are the days of sport that made Muhammad Ali — these are the days of propaganda and a push to tell tales of diversity of opportunity for all. If he ever plays again he’ll never be the same Kap that leads a franchise, for that I tip my cap to him and say #blacklivesmatter as well.