In the heart of San Francisco- the place where Colin Kaepernick once played his professional pro football career, the place where he first decided to take a knee, in Union Square, hovers a giant photograph of the man that Was willing to sacrifice his football career for something much bigger- black lives and the thwarting of systemic injustice and oppression.
Interestingly, Nike in its own very calculated way- fired resounding shots across the bow- seizing the moment as an opportunity to both market using social issues as the fulcrum upon which to turn its just do it message. It had only last week done something very similar with Serena Williams in its campaign addressing the French Open’s refusal to allow her to wear a romper. Union Square got its name from the pro-Union rallies held there on the eve of the Civil War. … Union Square was built and dedicated by San Francisco’s first American mayor John Geary in 1850 and is so named for the pro-Union rallies by Thomas Starr King that happened there before and during the United States Civil War.
At the heart of a place known for the civil war sits a giant photo of Colin Kaepernick… that seems very apropos. America is at war … and as our own Talibah Mawusi so eloquently noted Black people suffer in this nation from Constant traumatic stress syndrome… having lived in a nation at war with it for centuries… a war that often manifests itself in stolen black lives, the assassination of black characters in death, the justification of those deaths, and the subsequent need for campaigns simply to fight back against this cyclical set of seemingly never-ending heart snatching circumstances.
They timed this perfectly right before the beginning of the nfl season… right in the middle of San Fran… right after the arbitrator announced he can keep the lawsuit going… he has had folks talking for 3 years straight and folks don’t even realize it has spanned 3 seasons now… and clearly isn’t going away. He isn’t going away… his legend is growing… its staring at them. Staring at the heart of San Francisco… a place that prides itself on being “liberal”… at least when it comes to some issues.
The first year people claimed it would be a passing moment and by the end of the season players would be over it. Even some of our own friends laughed at the notion when we suggested we would boycott if he didn’t get a job. He didn’t get a job. We did boycott. This is Year 2 of our boycott. The NFL wants us to believe it hasn’t impacted them… but if it hadn’t… why would they want to literally change the rules?
The conversation hasn’t died down… it has grown LOUDER each season… to the point that the nfl is now attempting to literally change its rules to quiet it… that’s impactful as fuck. But while the conversation grows- so too must the way our lives in this country are handled. While it is difficult to find solace in black lives being stolen and white systems and people being protected… by laws and by being above laws… we can stop for a moment and look at Jordan Edward’s killer being convicted of murder… as at the very least a start… a place to begin hoping for justice while maintaining the fight to stop the killing of our people in the first place.
Colin We celebrate the fortitude you show. The fortitude that Eric Reid has shown. The fortitude of the players taking knees even in your absence knowing the risk of operating in systems where white men’s fears are being realized… uncontrollable, unshakeable black men… leading…
Nike can seize the moment… it’s forever that we are chasing.