As the 10 finalists for TIME Person of the Year were announced Monday, several names stuck out. Of course there were people who would normally be expected on the list like President Trump (last year’s winner), China’s Xi Jinping, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, but there were a few names on the list that made no sense. This is reason #1 I hope Colin Kaepernick wins, to invalidate this “honor” that the President and others have so coveted over the decades.
Kaepernick sparked one of the most offensive continuous displays of disrespect for everything it is to be an American. When he first lashed out at the flag and the National Anthem by kneeling, he demonstrated how many on the left are heading in the wrong direction and trying to take the nation with them. Comparisons to the civil rights movement or anti-war protests in the Vietnam era are silly. Those people were fighting for something real. What Kaepernick and other kneelers are fighting for is real as well, though clearly hard to define. What makes their protests silly is that they’re not really protesting for a cause. They’re not even protesting against anything in particular, though the original protest was about treatment of people of color and today’s variation is clearly an attack on President Trump himself.
No, these protests aren’t comparable to past movements because their actions are inconsequential. They aren’t risking a beating by sitting in the wrong seat on a bus. They’re not risking arrest by blocking a public building. They can’t even claim to be in the same league as Antifa whose thugs attack people while claiming to be against fascism. Kneelers get to make their protests, play a game, and get paid millions doing it. They aren’t protesting anything. Their actions are more akin to a fashion statement than promotion of a movement.
In short, what Kaepernick started is an embarrassing joke. It’s embarrassing to the American people. It’s embarrassing to the National Football League. It’s embarrassing to the kneelers themselves. This is why I really hope he wins. We need to see this as the hypocritical farce that it is, which means giving it all the mock acknowledgement it deserves.
Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was announced Monday as one of 10 candidates for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2017.
Kaepernick, who last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, joins President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and the #MeToo movement, among others, on the short list for recognition. Each year, the magazine strives to identify “the person or group of people who most influenced the news during the past year, for better or for worse.”