If there’s one thing I live for, it’s football season, especially college.
Saturday night I was enjoying a fantastic game between Charleston Southern University and North Dakota State University. The game went into overtime and ended with the Bison of NDSU winning 24-17. However, as I watched this thrilling game, it was an item on the ESPN news ticker that disturbed me — to which I see a need to respond to this “teachable moment.”
As we reported yesterday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem in Friday’s pre-season game against Green Bay because he was protesting “black oppression” in the United States. The Niners went on to lose.
The NFL issued a statement that said players are encouraged but not required to stand for the national anthem. Hmm, this is the same NFL that refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear a helmet decal in honor of the fallen Dallas Police officers gunned down on Thursday July 7th.
This is the same NFL that said nothing when players from the then St. Louis Rams displayed the false narrative symbol of “hands up, dont shoot” — which we know didn’t happen. I find it rather interesting that the NFL has no issue disrespecting law enforcement officers but only “encourages” players to respect the symbol of our nation, the American flag, and our anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.
However, I would recommend a simple scripture from the wise King Solomon for Mr. Kaepernick, Proverbs 17:28 (NIV): “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
Or as the old folks down South would say, “best for a stupid person to keep their mouth shut and not open it and let everyone know they are.”
Mr. Kaepernick, a biracial young man adopted and raised by white parents, claims America is oppressing blacks at a time when we have a black, biracial president who was twice elected. We’ve had two black attorneys general and currently have a black secretary of homeland security, along with a black national security advisor. Here in Dallas, our police chief, whom I know, is an outstanding black leader. The officer in Milwaukee who shot the armed assailant after issuing an order to drop his weapon was black. Is Mr. Kaepernick following suit and cherry-picking what he terms “oppression”?
First of all, let me clarify to you, sir, you are a multi-millionaire, a “one-percenter” just because you can throw a ball and kiss your biceps. Men like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Oscar Robertson, Ernie Davis, and Bernard King and Condredge Halloway of my alma mater were athletes who knew of oppression. You, sir, may certainly have the right to sit upon your “fourth point of contact” when the National Anthem is played, but never forget, you live in a nation that has provided you the privilege to have that right.
My story is one I wish to share. My dad was a corporal in the U.S. Army and served during World War II. He was born in 1920 and knew oppression. Yet, when he sat me down on the steps of our home, 651 Kennesaw Ave NE in Atlanta, he shared with me that there was no greater honor or privilege, than to wear the uniform of these United States. Perhaps that’s why his first and middle sons, along with his grandson, are all U.S. combat veterans, just like Dad. Herman West Sr. was not a victim, and he raised men who would never allow anyone to suppress or oppress them. Perhaps you should stop trying to make victims and admonish people, black people, to be victors — try it, and you may find that more satisfying than your insidious action and word vomiting.
If you want to know about oppression of blacks in America, past and present, how about you ask Rep. Nancy Pelosi of the San Fran Bay Area about the policies that decimate the black family? Maybe you can cross the Bay over to Oakland and ask Rep. Barbara Lee about the 13 to 15 million black babies killed since 1973, and ask her who Margaret Sanger is?
Or perhaps you can ask the two California senators, Boxer and Feinstein, about who doesn’t support better education opportunities for black children in the inner cities — school choice, vouchers, charter schools and home schooling.
Perhaps you didn’t know Barack Obama was the one who cancelled the DC school voucher program for deserving young black children — talk about oppression. Is that something you’re willing to do, or is it just too difficult?
You should look at who’s been controlling the communities and cities where blacks live. This isn’t not about what America has done; it’s about what a certain group has done. And your somewhat backhanded comment towards our law enforcement officers — well, wonder how many times San Francisco PD has protected you?
Here is the deal, young man. My recommendation is that you apologize. Be a stand up fella and admit you made a very stupid comment. Humbly state that you do realize how very special this country is and the opportunities it has afforded you — and many others. You should take that stand and apologize to all of those who are currently serving in our Armed Forces and those veterans who’ve been willing to make that last full measure of devotion. You see, when the National Anthem is played, it has a very special meaning to us — maybe you should take a hiatus and go over to Helmand Province in Afghanistan and spend a week and understand why. Go over and throw a football with the men and women who enable you to earn those millions of dollars.
The American flag has a very touching meaning for those of us whom it will drape our coffin — as it was for my Dad … and it will be for me. That song defines who we are as a proud and exceptional people. This is a land where so many dream of coming to and earning the title of American. Your actions were shameful, disgusting, despicable and disrespectful.
You do have a right and a freedom of expression. But know, there are consequences to your ignorant action, which is what it was.
When the National Anthem is played, I salute because I am a black man born and raised in the inner city afforded the opportunity for greatness in my own right. May you seek God’s forgiveness and find humility, because we, the people are not going to forget what you did and said.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. During his 22-year career, he served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, receiving many honors including a Bronze Star. In 2010, West was elected as a member of the 112th Congress representing Florida’s 22nd District. He is a Fox News contributor and author of “Guardian of the Republic." Mr. West also writes daily commentary on allenbwest.com.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Colonel Allen West on allenbwest.com.