Colin Kaepernick and Real Freedom

Colin Kaepernick and Real FreedomLast week, Colin Kaepernick and the NFL agreed to a deal over Kaepernick’s lawsuit about the league’s conspiracy to not hire him. For those who do not know, he is the former San Francisco 49er quarterback who nealed during the national anthem to protest racist policing policy toward blacks in the United States. Regardless of what happened, this was a great example of what a myth “freedom” is to those on the right.

Before I get to that, I want to note a few things. While I’m happy for Kaepernick, I am sad about the situation. I would have rather seen the NFL be dragged through the mud on this. But had that happened, the result would almost certainly have been that the NFL won the case. This is because the standard for proving conspiracy is ridiculously high. And even with all the bad publicity, the NFL would surely have used the court win to clean up any damage that had been done to their reputation.

Oppression

According to libertarian dogma, only the government can oppress you. Only the government can put you in a cage, they say. Yet this is a delusional belief if you look at how society actually functions. People do not have a choice to not work. And since employers enjoy a monopsony, people don’t get to choose who they work for. And they certainly don’t have the right they did 10,000 years ago to go out and hunt and gather.

So the idea that Colin Kaepernick didn’t have his rights infringed upon is just nonsense. But don’t get me wrong: I understand that the NFL owners saw this as simply an economic issue. They were afraid that there would be fewer fans watching games if such a divisive person played. But that doesn’t mean they were right. As Les Carpenter noted, the NFL continues to rake in money.

Don’t Let Markets Dictate Morality

Colin Kaepernick was not free. And he was not free because of the “free market.”

The question is: should it matter? In this country, we just assume that if the market pushes in a certain direction, that is the direction we should go. But the truth is: there is quite a good demand for whites-only restaurants. Forget the ridiculous libertarian apologetics that “racism is bad for business.” There are plenty of people who are proud of their racism. Just look who’s president!

Should it matter that a good economic decision means making a bad moral decision? I think it should. It means that we are taxing morality. We are saying, “Standing up for what you believe in will cost you your livelihood.” Rather than be guided by what the market dictates (as though it were our god) we should fix the economy where it encourages immortality.

Colin Kaepernick was not free. And he was not free because of the “free market.” He isn’t alone. Most of us have to work jobs we aren’t keen on. We’d rather have actual freedom to do what we want. And I’m certain if that happened, we’d have a society that is just as rich and far less exploitative as the one we now have.

You don’t have to agree with me, of course. But the least we can do is stop pretending that the capitalist system provides us with real freedom. It just provides us with an unaccountable system of control. And I do not accept theoretical “freedom” as a replacement for actual freedom.

Colin Kaepernick Is a Hero

There are some who claim that Colin Kaepernick is not a hero because he doesn’t vote. Let me just say that democracy is not the same as voting. Plenty of countries have voting without democracy. Kaepernick did far more for the cause of democracy than I will with my lifetime of voting. Police mistreatment of blacks, voter disenfranchisement, and Donald Trump are all part of the same thing. I have faith that things will get better and Colin Kaepernick is a big part of that process. Thank you Colin Kaepernick!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “Colin Kaepernick and Real Freedom

  1. That he stuck with the court case and won a settlement is incredible. I’ve had former employers who blatantly violated existing law and I didn’t want to take them on in court because they have more money. Taking on the NFL — wow, sir.

    Bob Costas recently stated he had to leave NBC because he made off-air comments about concussions and the NFL leaned on NBC. BOB COSTAS! Guy’s been the face of NBC Sports since I was old enough to get peanut butter on the TV dial.

    Per “the standard for proving conspiracy is ridiculously high,” there’s lots of scuttlebutt among baseball players that teams are colluding to drive salaries down. (It’s happened before.) Some prominent players with comfortable contracts are saying the “strike” word, and you know if the rich guys are saying it aloud the poorer guys are saying it privately.

    The best writing on this is coming from two guys at… NBC Sports. Why not ESPN, or Fox Sports, both of which have skilled sportswriters? Because those networks air baseball games and NBC doesn’t. Simple as that.

    You’re quite familiar with the old truism about “if a worker’s salary is dependent on not saying a particular thing.” Kapernick’s salary was dependent on him not saying police brutality towards black people exists in America. You can’t say that in the NFL! Not the flag-waving, jet-flyovering NFL!

    He did. He took a moral stance. He’s probably a better man for it. And we’re definitely a better country for it.

    Incidentally, the NBA Lakers have statues of former team greats outside their arena. Conspicuous abscence? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Who only SCORED MORE POINTS THAN ANYBODY IN BASKETBALL HISTORY. But he’s an outspoken critic of injustice, so such a statue would be “controversial.” He’s a skilled writer and veteran activist, he’ll be fine. Does provide one more example of how dumb sports team owners are.

    • That’s all amazing. I think there is a writing niche for you in the nexus of sports and politics. There are people already working it, but I suspect there is room to grow.

      I have a lot of respect for people with the strength to go on strike. My thinking has been scarred by Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers. My uncle was one of the people fired. Upper-middle class liberals often don’t understand what a risk people take.

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