Colin Kaepernick has had himself one helluva year. Last season he kneeled during the National Anthem to bring attention to the killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police. Ralph Baker’s Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead highlighted the folly of mass incarceration and the police state we have created in America. However, the NFL afforded Kaerpernick a much bigger stage. His silent protest caught America’s … the entire world’s attention and the world can no longer look away from America’s lies over equality and justice for all. Now Kaepernick has been awarded GQ’s Citizen of the Year:

In 2017, Colin Kaepernick is on GQ‘s cover once again—but this time it is because he isn’t playing football. And it’s not because he’s hurt, or because he’s broken any rules, or because he’s not good enough. Approximately 90 men are currently employed as quarterbacks in the NFL, as either starters or reserves, and Colin Kaepernick is better—indisputably, undeniably, flat-out better—than at least 70 of them. He is still, to this day, one of the most gifted quarterbacks on earth. And yet he has been locked out of the game he loves—blackballed—because of one simple gesture: He knelt during the playing of our national anthem. And he did it for a clear reason, one that has been lost in the yearlong storm that followed. He did it to protest systemic oppression and, more specifically, as he said repeatedly at the time, police brutality toward black people.

When we began discussing this GQ cover with Colin earlier this fall, he told us the reason he wanted to participate is that he wants to reclaim the narrative of his protest, which has been hijacked by a president eager to make this moment about himself. But Colin also made it clear to us that he intended to remain silent. As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence. It has helped his story go around the world. It has even provoked the ire and ill temper of Donald Trump. Why talk now, when your detractors will only twist your words and use them against you? Why speak now, when silence has done so much?

Kaepernick’s silent protest has caught on like wildfire around the league. While players were reticent to follow is lead, Kaepernick has given the entire league the courage to stand up for what is right. Protests have created fault lines between players, owners, the media and even the president. President Trump called for owners to fire “sons of bitch players” who don’t stand for the flag. When tax-dodging, patent-dodging Allergan is the topic? *Crickets* The NFL’s wilful ignorance of what’s really happening in their communities have turned off a lot of fans. Ratings are down; attendance is down and eventually ESPN and other networks will have to cut bids for future TV contracts.

The fact that Kaepenick is no longer in the league has gotten silly. Peep this … from pee wee leagues to high school to college Kaepernick ran the sprints, completed the drills, withstood two-a-days, and took the hits. No man who has not gone through that process has the right to take away Kaepernick’s ability to compete and make money. NFL owners have now learned that making a martyr of him is not good for the brand or the bottom line.

On Trump And The Global Economy

The GQ cover has also afforded Colin the opportunity to sit on the panel for Trump And The Global Economy Town Hall to be held early next year. Colin hit us up at nyshockexchange@gmail.com. The second installment of Trump And The Global Economy Town Hall took place October 24th in Fort Greene. It Featured Professor Lance Brofman, Coconut Rob (Coconut Rob Smoothies), Wuyi Jacobs (AfroBeats Radio) and Ralph Baker, author of Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead.

The event was well-received by the community. We parsed through President Trump’s proposed tax plan and [i] how it was pure economic folly and [ii] high net worth individuals could potentially game the system by shifting income around. Apparently, Kansas Coach Bill Self did this when the state of Kansas cut taxes in the past. We discussed the pros and cons of technology on workers and the economy. How will the economy and country prosper under Trump’s leadership vis-a-vis Obama? What’s behind the verbal sparring with black athletes, ESPN’s Jemele Hill and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un?

 

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