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Colin Kaepernick knows something about racial oppression.

After all, his African-American father abandoned his destitute19-year-old pregnant mother with a baby to raise on her own.

That is, until he was adopted by a white couple, gaining an older brother and sister who fostered his athletic talent by involving him with youth football from age eight.

The family moved to Turlock, California, a city of 73 percent whites and 1.4 African-Americans, where Colin became a triple-threat athlete while earning a 4.0 grade point average at John H. Pitman High School, which has a comprehensive nondiscrimination policy.

In college, he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and awarded a display at the NCAA College Hall of Fame.

Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, Kaepernick has come close enough to taste post-season success, but doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring – yet.

What he does have, though, is a six-year contract worth $126 million with $13 million fully guaranteed, another $54 in potential guarantees and commercial endorsements.

Clearly, the gifted young athlete and scholar suffered along the way as his white family, coaches, teachers, team mates and fans made it impossible for him to even try to achieve his dreams.

At least that’s what the quarterback must believe based on his justification for refusing to stand during the national anthem before a pre-season game.

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.

The 49ers organization were surprised by the QB’s move and released a statement that read, “In respecting freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate in our celebration of the national anthem.”

What else could the 49ers do?

After all, pro football is just another oppressor – a major employer of African-Americans making them superstars, millionaires and giving them the chance to achieve their dreams and inspire millions of young athletes along the way.

Of course, Kaepernick could have taken a different course of action... say, making a donation to clean-up efforts in Louisiana, or setting up a scholarship for the next talented QB, or adopted a child who needs a family. But then, he might not have received as much publicity as taking his stand.

 

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