Incarceration Nation

Kneeling for Justice

Kaepernick’s Demonstration

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

For former San Francisco 49er, Colin Kaepernick, his knee has struck a nerve across America.

Kaepernick, a talented quarterback, decided months ago to take a knee during the national anthem, to bring attention to police terrorism against Black people.

He is paying a steep price for his principled activism and protest, in ways non-athletes can barely conceive. For professional athletes aren’t just guys and gals playing a sport for entertainment. Elite athletes, especially at the professional level, have spent much of their lives, even as far back as high or middle school age, to build their bodies to perfect their craft.

This single-minded devotion to a sport creates a focus that few of us ever achieve.

That Kaepernick is sacrificing his professional career, in the face of NFL hostility, speaks well of the man. His sustained protest brings to mind the antiwar efforts of the late Muhammad Ali, who because his license to box was taken, was denied the ability to perform his craft when he was at the top of his game. He lost, yes; but so did his millions of fans.

Similarly, track and field athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith ran and won their races at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. Smith and Carlos were subjected to years of repression and discrimination after they raised their fist in Black Power salutes during the medal ceremonies.

Colin Kaepernick follows in that proud and principled tradition, for, by taking a knee, he is standing for justice for millions, whose voices can’t be heard.

Prison Radio, September 24, 2017

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Mumia Abu-Jamal AM-8335


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