Hannah Drake's picture

    Dear Colin Kaepernick: All You Had To Do Was Play The Game, Boy.

    All you had to do was throw the ball, boy. We concealed this auction block well, didn’t we, boy? You didn’t know you were on sale, boy? Didn’t we tell you to just run, boy? Entertain us, boy. Win championships for us, boy. Stay in your place, boy. Don’t you dare get these other slaves, Black men riled up, boy. Didn’t we pay you enough, boy? Why can’t you just be satisfied, boy? Stand up and salute this flag, boy. Honor your allegiance to the system, boy. Didn’t we give you enough money to entice you, boy? How dare you reject your master, boy. Didn’t you like your name in lights, boy? Didn’t we stroke your ego, boy? All you needed to do was play the game, boy. Keep dancing for us on Monday Night, boy. Make us rich, boy. We don’t care if you get hurt, boy. Our job is to break bucks like you, boy. Didn’t you know boys like you come a dime a dozen, boy? We can replace you with no thought, boy. Make sure our new boy is a controlled boy. Thought you knew we don’t trust Negroes to be the quarterback anyway, boy. We did you a favor, boy. How dare you turn your back on us, boy. If you are kneeling, it will be before us, boy. Ain’t this game your God, boy? Don’t you see how everyone else bows down before us, boy? Don’t you know what we do to Negroes like you, boy? Back in the day, we let Negroes like you sway from the trees, boy. Make an example outta you, so other Negroes will stay in their place, boy. Don’t you smell that strange fruit in the air, boy? All you had to do was just shut up, boy. We don’t have to kill you, boy. All we have to do is silence you, boy.

    The NFL is comprised of 70% African American males. Black Men have the power to dismantle an industry.

    There is a story I once heard, could be fact, fiction or part fact and part fiction, however the sentiment of the story is something I will never forget. One day a man was walking through the circus passing the elephants, and he wondered how such a powerful, gigantic creature could be held in place with just a rope and a stake in the ground. The elephant’s freedom was just on the other side of believing that it could break the rope.  When the man saw the trainer he asked him, “Why doesn’t the elephant just break the rope and leave this place of bondage and return to his home where he will find sustenance and freedom in his original habitat where he will thrive?”

    The trainer smiled and said, “When the elephant is very young and small, we tie a rope to his leg, and it’s enough to hold the elephant in place. No matter how the elephant might struggle, he cannot break loose. As the elephant grows older, he has been conditioned over time to believe that he cannot break the rope so, in turn, the elephant never tries to get free.”

    Freedom is often connected to the ability to recognize that there is no rope that can hold you. Once you decide to walk in your power and authority you can no longer be bound. Restricted freedom is still bondage and it costs. You may not pay now, but the bill always comes due and the oppressor will always want to collect payment.

    One voice can be a spark. United voices can ignite a movement. One voice can bring awareness to a system. A multitude of voices can dismantle it.

    My brothers in the NFL, you are no longer enslaved. You have all the power. You hold all the cards. You have the power collectively to stand for someone that knelt for our brothers and sisters that were murdered with no regard. As Assata said, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

    You have nothing to lose but your chains…


    Please, pretty awful jump into thw worst interpretation. There are a variety of issues, including Kapaernick's heavy injury clause that he renegotiated, his bad 2015, his wanting quite a bit more than typical if left to backup role, that he chose to renegotiate last fall to be a free agent or he would still have a multiyear contract, and what several pubs including 538 have pointed out, which is that a number of unfortunate football trading/staffing circumstances have occured to make Kap's situatiin harder. Even if a response to his protests, the qb is the leader of the team and the focus of the fan paying his team >$1 billion a year including TV, so big business to lose, though player salaries eat up much more than the $1-1.5 billion in total NFL profits (Kap earning a not bad >$12m though earlier 2103 claims of a way huger deal were misguided and misunderstood basic pay, whi part was injury guarantee, what were incentives, etc.)

    Kapaernick made himself a free agent. I applaud his protest, but he knew he was taking a chance (he insured his 2017 salary, including for injury).

    I'm not sure who you expect your audience to be here, but I'd guess most of us expect a certain intelligent presentation rather than simplified race goading.

    Watch the 1970's Rollerball (not the remake) and that Nick Nolte Cowboys-like football film for a well-trod "power of the system vs the lonely player" theme.

    Thanks for reading. Clearly my audience is wide. It includes people like you. Enjoy!

    Spare us another lamentation on Colin K.

    The multimillionaire football celebrity who couldn't discern a difference between "evil Hillary and evil Trump."  He will come out OK.

    Millions of less privileged, here and throughout the world will not.

    Pre-election Colin K:

    To me, it was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates,” he told reporters at San Francisco’s practice facility.

    It is embarrassing so many couldn't tell the difference between Hillary and the Orange Buffoon.

    People, can we muster up a little civility for a newbie? Perhaps she put the case too strongly, but if Kaepernick had been a white guy standing up for a cause that was inoffensive to white people, I suspect he'd have been treated better.

    Thank you. I don't need any civility. I am new here, but not new to writing. I know what comes with the territory in matters like these. As long as no one calls me any racial names, we are good. The blog is meant to spark a conversation and that may take on any form. I have been called a fool, racist, and many other things when I posted this blog, doesn't hurt my feelings. Just makes me write more. :)

    One important note is we'd largely ploughed this field a week back with Danny's column. That doesn't mean we can't retread - God knows we often do insufferably and occasionally usefully - but it also means positions were more taken than something out-of-the-blue.

    The racism aspect to sports players and football players requires some more in-depth parsing - I don't think all the "boy" slinging does it justice even if racism is detected - it's a different kind of issue. Football players get paid extremely well - though significantly less than say baseball, with much shorter careers and higher chance of injury. Most football players' demographics are clumped up in the mid-late 20's, and the salaries slowly move up during that time, whereas in other sports they're often earning top salary during that time and then moving down.

    Team sports do have a kind of ownership to them, and that was greatly loosened up thanks to Curt Flood in the 60's along with other landmark cases through the years, and the steady buildup of the free agency system. Ironically or not, Kapaernick gave up much of the protection he had to try to get a starting position or new slot or something - he felt like a fish out of water in San Francisco at this point, but it's quite possible he'll feel that way in other cities, so he's taken a pretty big chance, what with age, past seasons' performance, and the public reception of his protest (again, I think what he did was a good thing, but in America, no good deed goes unpunished).

    Anyway, welcome, and I should have given a polite boy-howdy before pulling out the long knives (ok, these are the shorter blades, but you get my drift).

    We try to be a bit more civilized around here. Fierce arguments abound, but personal insults and flame wars aren't permitted. Still, a thick skin does come in handy.

    :) Born and raised with thick skin. Thank you for looking out for me though. Much appreciated. 

    Thanks for publishing this here. I appreciate your willingness to engage a new audience.

    Americans are often distracted with the lives, troubles, opinions of celebrities, and entertainment issues. As they should be?

    What did the owners do to Colin Kaepernick that he now says he will stand for the anthem next season?

    Or did it work? Is America great for the first time in history? 

    Dag could use a blog on that.

    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

    I don't care if a person sits, stands, or kneels during the national anthem. They could fart along to the rhythm for all I care but most people don't feel the way I do. Most people find it disrespectful and offensive no matter what the reason.

    We can jumble the terms in any way we want.

    A: white guy or black guy

    B: an action that is offensive to most people or inoffensive to most people

    C: a cause that most people support or that most people do not support

    Racism still exists and a white guy who took an offensive action in support of a cause most people do not support would likely be treated a bit better than a black guy. But that white guy would still have been punished harshly. It's happened many times. The most famous incident was when Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

    How ever much sports may be a meritocracy that's not the main goal of the entertainment industries. The main goal of entertainment is to make money. If an actor in any of the entertainment industries does anything that  costs other people in the business money that actor will be paid less or fired. People get to spend or not spend their money on what ever entertainment product that want or don't want. Liberals boycott certain performers all the time for reasons I agree with and join in and for reasons I don't agree with and don't join in. For example, Sarandon has pissed me off too often and I won't be watching anymore of her films. I'm probably not alone but we're probably too few for it to have any effect.

    I don't watch sports at all because they bore me. I especially wouldn't watch football because with what we now know about brain damage caused by numerous mini-concussions I think the game should be banned. If every liberal like me had suddenly started watching Kaepernick play and bought tickets to his game in support of him and BLM, if the ratings and ticket sales went up, the owners would change the announcement at the beginning of the game to invite people to stand or kneel for the national anthem. Because it's about the money and that's almost all it's about.


    and what oceankat said!

    Plus this nasty capitalist reminder: freedom of speech in this country does not come with a guaranteed job.***

    Though as long as your political statements make for profits, nobody but the stupid boss will complain.

    *** oh yeah, what is the reason most of us don't use our real names on this site?

    ***Mine's too difficult to spell, is in a largely forgotten alphabet, and makes Kaepernick's name seem simple. Think I'm hiding something?

    I read this piece on Hannah's site and asked her to publish it here. I know the language triggers a lot of people, but this issue triggers a lot of people. The Colin Kaepernick situation is playing out less than three years after Donald Sterling's lifetime ban from the NBA because of racists remarks he made to his girlfriend; I'm not saying all NFL owners are a combination of Donald Sterling and the Leonardo DiCaprio character from Django Unchained, but it's not unreasonable to think there could be a few owners who hold beliefs similar to Donald Sterling or a plantation owner in the Antebellum south.

    I've played football and have consumed the sport my whole life; the argument that a guy who 's played in a Super Bowl and threw 16 touchdowns versus 4 interceptions last year forgot how to play over the break is laughable. I know it's not his right to play in the NFL, and I understand how potentially bad he could be for business, but let's agree that there aren't 60 better quarterbacks in the league better than him. With all of that said, this issue also highlights a racial divide in our politics. I heard a poll on the radio in which conservatives where three times more likely to be upset by his protest than liberals. Is this because of racism or patriotic nationalism, we will never know because most people aren't willing to be honest about some of their darkest,innermost secrets. It would be hard for me to believe there are more progressives than conservatives in the NFL fraternity of owners.   

    I begged Hannah to start blogging here because I believe she has a worldview that can make this site better. The minute any of us click that final save button we open ourselves up to scrutiny. No one should be disrespected, but no one's arguments should be treated with kid gloves. We take each other serious when we offer substantive critique of the work we publish. I've been Blogging here for over two years and this platform has literally changed my life. I would have loved to have been enrolled in a MFA program somewhere, but that wasn't an option for me early in my life. I've learned from every bad argument or typo I've made at Dagblog; likewise, I've learned from some of the bad arguments I've read here. The left isn't a monochromatic set of ideas and beliefs: as witnessed by the last 20 or so months of Hillary and Bernie battle royals, but that isn't the only issue where we differ. I love that Dagblog isn't just an echo chamber for our beliefs. Race and dialogues about race are hard, but if we can't read about things that upset us is it reasonable to think we can talk about them?

    Thanks for reaching out, Danny. I look forward to more from Hannah.

    Thank you, Danny. I wasn't even going to mention that but it appears it needed to be said. I didn't stumble in here by chance. I don't write so everyone will agree with me. Quite frankly I write with the belief most won't. I don't write with the goal of making people comfortable. That is not what I was called to do. . Sometimes when you write your pen is a hammer other times it is a sledgehammer. Consider this one the sledgehammer. 

    Thank you for the invitation. 

    Hannah thank you for this, i agree 100%. 

    Welcome to Dag.

    Good post Hanna. Strong language that effectively makes your point. I was out of the country when when John Carlos and Tommy Smith made their famous Olympic salute and so missed what I heard was quite a reaction here at home, but I was also for the first time in my fairly young life around, working with, and dealing with black men, a few of whom became close friends. By that time and with more experience of the world I admired Carlos' amd Smith's action as I might not have a few years earlier. I was a fan of Cassius Clay as a boxer and became a strong admirer of Muhammad Ali when he became a fighter for what he believed in. I support Kaepernick, admire his courage, and hope he starts for some team in the future. [I also hope of course that whatever that team is that the Cowboys thump them.] 

     Welcome to Dag and a hat-tip to Danny Cardwell for inviting you.   

    [...] iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli / uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim / imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se / continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, / panem et circenses. [...]

    (Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81)

    Translation @ wikipedia

    God I love it when you talk dirty. But I fear you're just trying to provoke us - poking the bear, so to speak. While I've been away in Gaul and Britanniax, a rot's taken iver the city. A funny thing happened on the way to the forym...

    poking the bear

    yez sometimes guys need to be poked just like gals getting all het up about the latest fashion wars.

    just sooooo not a professional sports fan, American football especially wink

    Hello: professional: is like for profit, ya know? as in "owned by the man".

    how come no long blog screeds and comment threads and call in's  fer/agin the Dilbert's of the world bravely standing up to office culture?

    Drama queens all. Yeah I get it: it's metaphor and allegory, the thrill of victory, the agony of de feet, I get that.

    Still, whole 24/7 TV channels on this stuff, really, c'mon. For a game, fortunes spent on a game, robust human health destroyed over a game with bloodthirsty fans who won't get up off the couch except to buy T-shirts and paint their faces...


    p.s. A funny thing happened on the way to the forym...

    Indeed aren't we living that now?

    Will be interesting to see if Tony Romo's retirement breaks the logjam in signing quarterbacks.

    Kaep isn't a great player, and he has an unusual skill set, but he's too good to go unsigned unless they are trying to punish him.

    I thought it had a nice cadence to it, and was a statement of feeling rather than an expression of fact.

    Giving Hannah the benefit of the doubt, someone who tries to write about football ends up in the same spot as someone who tries to write about the Trump presidency: it's a thing that's both bigger and smaller than itself, which bedevils efforts at analysis under magnification.

    Hi Hannah...

    Please check your FB poetry page for my response to your outstanding post...

    The struggle continues... FOREVER!


    Aside from Burt Reynolds era stereotypes, where's the step forward? Why don't all these millionaire "slaves" pool their money to make black lives actually matter? Why is this back to 1 person rather than organizing a different kind of well-funded movement? Even in sports I thought Kaep was convincing teammates - where's the teamwork and innovation?

    Wealthy blacks tend to donate more to charity then whites at the same income level. Black athletes do tremendous charitable work. Media generally doesn't cover positive images of black athletes. Kaepernick tracks his donations at his website. Hannah's commentary has to be viewed in the context of an NFL ownership that had to be forced to interview blacks for coaching jobs.

    There is constant questioning of how much wealthy blacks, including athletes, do for black communities. We have to keep in mind that even large charitable organizations like Catholic Charities fall far short of meeting the needs of those in need in the United States. Individuals have a hard time doing what government should be doing. One of Paul Ryan's religious beliefs is "subsidiary". His interpretation is that if government pulls back support, private and religious charities will fill the void. Ryan's assessment in questionable. Blacks give money to aid black communities, but they can't be expected to solve the problem alone.


    I'm not atlking about averages - I'm talking about a unified bloc making a big public show on a critical item. BLM can be dismissed as more dirty hippies - the wealthy & well-connected can't (so easily)

    Imagine 10 sports players put up $10k each for big ass monuments in city after city - ot some better, more productive idea, maybe Cambridge Analytica-like targeting to focus non-racist data & persuasion to people who need it, activist info to people who are already persuaded, or _ _ _ _?. What if the police orgs got a petition with 50 million likes, easily doable in these Facebook/Twitter days - would we still be hearing lame responses of BlueLivesMatter? Kaep had a great guerrilla marketing idea, but why does it stop there? His shoulders ain't that big.

    Like I said, it's only a stupid boss that would get upset about employee behavior that is profitable.

    We come back to the problem that if United Way, Catholic Charities, etc can't fully deliver, there would still be people in need. The second issue is that athletes are small fish, someone writes their checks. Folks like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby ( before the sexual abuse charges) and blacks in the financial industries make contributions  that impact more people.

    I don't think many professional sports fans care if star athletes are charitable or even good role models. Bad boys can be profitable.

    Edit to add: It all defends on the sports fans definition of bad, as I gather from stories I've paid attention to, things like child abuse and pedophilia are a no go, wife beating is up in the air right now. Praying is actually questionable, I can't figure if most like that or not. Same with standing for the national anthem.

    Small fish? Average salary in NBA is $6.25m, predicted to cross $10m by 2020. That's *per player*, not counting endorsements that can go to $20m-$50mil for the big stars..  Baseball is almost $5m/player. There' only 1 Oprah - there are 100s of players. Pool a few coins, make a splash. Congresspeople will whore themselves for $20k You can *buy*  a very good marketing analytics company for $5-10 million. Too much self-limitation on the promotion, sound-and-fury front, letting #BLM carry the water with a bunch of penniless, kind-of-rough activists. Replace Kaepernick's on the field drive with an owner/boardroom push - these sports stars know them, theey're huge in their communities. Do it in an engaging, no-affront manner to find rich well-connected allies. There's no FEC limit on activist dollars spent, might be tax deductible if done right.



    Wealthy blacks are doing their part. There are things charities do, and things government should use our tax dollars to do. On a matter of scale government is more important. Blacks pay taxes for a reason.

    An athlete who rose from poverty spends a great deal of cash buying his/her home and car as well as similar purchase for the parents. A lot of money is spent on home  and transportation.

    I don't say their salaries are all disposable income, but tell me what's a more important issue for the black community and guess how puny the money spent for protests and other issue activism was. And then politicians and voters forgot except the ones with grudges. So it failed. Instead we're left fretting over Colin's free-agency and reduced to labeling multimillionaires "slaves". Results matter. That's all, I'm finished.

    My position is that Trump is going to roll back programs geared to aid blacks. Blacks will step up efforts to help. Blacks are donating more to charity percent-wise already. The government rollback is the major issue. We are all our brother's keeper. When tornadoes hit the Great Plains or when children are starving in Appalachia, it is all our responsibility to help. We give aid via taxes plaid to government.

    Kaep gave $1million to charity last year. I don't really want to 2nd guess that as it's a huge chunk of change, but who stepped forward to make sure the black protests of abuse were remembered, to make them acceptable to intended audiences, to reverse the BlueLivesMatter hijack, to get maximum protest dollar and effect? Hillary's loss as far as she had control was a marketing failure to get her message unblocked and unadulterated to receptive audiences. I feel BLM-related issues need a marketing makeover as well - maybe a highclass glossy professional push to say, "this isn't just the poor and unwashed, it's people from all classes, races, genders, that say enough's enough". One of our bloggers notes that #OWS got way old and counterproductive and an annoyance to potential backers. Kaep was a step towards getting the monied class up in arms, but didn't round the bend to more than a few players and ending on the playing field. Movements have to evolve to new venues, greater reach. I hate seeing a groundswell of energy just disappear again.

    Great post Hannah. It is hard to conclude that Kaepernick is not being selectively punished by ownership. Other express similar feelings


    Even Trump came for Colin Kaepernick ​


    While Kaepernick is punished, Fox News paid out $13 millions dollars for their employee Bill O'Reilly for alleged sexual harassment. By the way, O'Reilly's television ratings have soared post-scandal.


    Speaks volumes about a segment of our culture

    I have a huge problem when people analogize unpleasant and possibly unfair situations besetting rich and powerful people to slavery.  Colin Kaepernick is a multi-millionaire.  He is famous.  He has freedom of movement.  Yes, he should get a contract and he may not be getting one because he spoke out against injustice but this is not in any way comparable to being whipped, castrated, raped, kidnapped, chained, forcibly separated from one's family, or killed with impunity.

    When we use language in this way, just as when Clarence Thomas described the "ordeal" he had to undergo after he was nominated to the Supreme Court as a "high-tech lynching", we minimize true atrocities beyond all recognition.

    HSG ...

    I be pickin' up o'er 'ere, Boss.

    I be puttin' it down o'er 'ere, Boss.

    I be pullin' it out o'er 'ere, Boss.

    I be shakin' it o'er 'ere, Boss.

    I be squattin' o'er 'ere, Boss.

    I be wipin' o'er 'ere, Boss.

    You tell us Boss!


    Don't look up
    An' don't look down
    You don' dast make
    De white boss frown
    Bend your knees
    An'bow your head
    An' pull date rope
    Until you' dead

    Let me go 'way from the Mississippi
    Let me go 'way from de white man boss
    Show me dat stream called de river Jordan
    Dat's de ol' stream dat I long to cross

    Read more: Paul Robeson - Old Man River Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

    NCD ... Uhhh ...

    For some odd reason  I have the sinking suspicion that most likely a whole passel of folks don't realize the hell George Gershwin went through after he penned "It Ain't Necessarily So." He got hammered from all sides...



    I fully agree with you on this, Hal.  It seems pretty obvious, actually.

    Thanks CVille.

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