This article is not about Colin Kaepernick. It’s also not about other athletes who have joined him in expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo and the injustice inherent in it. No, this article is not about particular celebrities or individuals. Instead, it is about the depths to which we’ve fallen. We. Not them. We all.
A young athlete-disgusted with injustice and violence- sits down during the national anthem. The ether lights up with hate. The rich condemn him. “Normal” people debate what he did as if they have the right to determine what he can and can’t do. They say you can’t “politicize” sport. What bullshit. Since when has sport not been politicized and since when has any sphere of human activity been totally fair, just, and isolated from the broader milieu in which it resides?
They also say “let it be about the game.” Okay, fine, then, dear people, let it be. If you don’t like Kaepernick then don’t like him because he is intercepted a lot but not because he takes a stand on matters political and social. If you want him to let it be about the game then you need to as well.
So please stop the dissimulation and bullshit. Stop hoisting yourself on your own petard.
Other athletes follow. NFL owners make grandiose statements and patriotic coaches talk about “benching” anyone who kneels. Sponsors abandon players and teams. Such pathetic and malicious attempts at forcing conformity remind us of exactly what Americans claim they hate and claim their military adventures exist to excise.
The dying emperor is naked but also incredibly hateful.
What do these “controversies” suggest about us? Sure, they suggest that we can be terribly hypocritical and that these hypocrisies are revealed upon even the slightest challenge to “business as usual.” But they suggest something much more as well- a deep hatred for anyone who forces us to reckon with ourselves and even for a minute destabilizes our comfortable worldviews. Our reactions are not about Kaepernick but about the depths to which our collective soul has fallen so much so that even small jabs call for heavy retaliation.
We hate not only heretics and witches but even skeptics as well. And we believe we have the right to act upon that hate. That is what Kaepernick Gate has revealed about us.
Romi Mahajan is the founder of KKM Group a marketing firm, an author, an investor, and an activist. His career is a storied one, including spending 9 years at Microsoft and being the first CMO of Ascentium, an award-winning digital agency. Romi has also authored two books on marketing- the latest one can be found here . A prolific writer and speaker, Mahajan lives in Bellevue, WA, with his wife and two kids. Mahajan graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, at the age of 19. He can be reached at email@example.com