Back in 2016, Quarterback Colin Kaepernick offended the nation when he knelt on one knee during the playing of the National Anthem before a football game. His protest “against police brutality” changed the National Football League forever. Soon, other players imitated the activist quarterback. Thus began the process by which America’s favorite national pastime was weaponized and put at the service of a radical cause....Mr. Kaepernick now wants to abolish police and prisons.
It started as a simple protest against abuses that police allegedly committed. The football establishment tried first to suppress “taking the knee” by threatening players with fines and disciplinary action. Later, it looked for compromises like not playing the anthem or keeping the team in the locker room. Then, team management joined players “taking a knee” on the field in feel-good acts of collective virtue-signaling.
This 2020 season, the League signed articles of surrender to the radical left. It agreed to play an alternative anthem, allow gestures and symbols, and made its endorsement of Black Lives Matter. The League is now a platform from which the nation hears Mao-like admissions of guilt for “systemic racism.” Football became secondary.
Rejected by Public Opinion
Viewership of football games has predictably plummeted, as many resented the antic of “taking a knee.” People rightly saw it as disrespectful to the flag that represents America. Veterans were especially offended since soldiers have fought and died under the American flag. Long-time football fans boycotted the NFL, many never to return.
To this day, no team has signed on Colin Kaepernick as a quarterback, fearing public reaction. However, progressive corporations like Nike have recruited him as their poster boy.
Colin Kaepernick’s radicalization is a lesson for everyone who makes concessions. His simple protest has morphed into social revolution. His endgame is not reform, but to change America radically.
Where Is Colin Going?
The millionaire football player laid out his game in a recent article in which he renounces his past gradualist demands for reform. Published as a special project called “Abolition for the People,” he leaves no doubt about his radical objectives. The effort is prepared by LEVEL and his own Kaepernick Publishing. The Medium publication LEVEL offers "commentary on race, identity and culture for men of color."
The unemployed quarterback admits that his earlier critique was "fastened to a reformist framework.” Thus, he gained sympathy from some sectors and especially an adoring media that covered his every kneel.
Colin Kaepernick’s endgame now renounces reform. He does not oppose police brutality, but the police as an institution. He considers reform a failed policy that “preserves, enhances, and further entrenches policing and prisons into the United States’ social order.”
His present rhetoric is aggressive and incendiary. His message is that police and prison systems are rooted in white supremacy, racism, and acts of domestic terrorism. One indecent subtitle of his article is “F*** Reform.” He says that “The central intent of policing is to surveil, terrorize, capture, and kill marginalized populations, specifically black folks.”
No Effort to Hide Communist Influence
Everything about Kaepernick’s appeal for revolution reeks of Marxism. He employs the typical Marxist-inspired dialectic that divides humanity into opposing classes. His perspective recognizes no personal responsibility as a cause of social evils. Supposedly, the real causes are social structures that force people into a class struggle. The goal of such division is not social harmony through reforms but demands, in the people’s name, to abolish oppressive power structures.
Kaepernick does little to hide his communist ties. His article quotes Angela Davis, the sixties activist and 1980 Communist Party candidate for vice president. He also cites Stokely Carmichael, a member of the Marxist revolutionary group, Black Panthers, that engaged in violence in the sixties. In his reference to “prison scholar” Ruth Wilson Gilmore, he decries what he calls the crimes of “racial capitalism.”
There is also no lack of a proletariat or an oppressed class. Despite his emphasis on “anti-blackness,” the quarterback could not resist expanding his proletariat to include indigenous people, “black, brown, and poor white people.”
Nor does he seem to be concerned about the methods that might be employed to obtain his goals. His article comments on “uprisings" to defund police. He praises, for example, “those who have dedicated their lives to the cause of liberation by any means necessary” and who “are demanding the abolition of the carceral state -- the institutions, structures, and practices of anti-Black state-sanctioned violence that violates the fundamental humanity of Black and Indigenous people and people of color.”
Demand the Impossible
Mr. Kaepernick’s plan for the future is Marxist boilerplate. Like most Marxist agitators, he demands the impossible from society. He offers vague solutions without practical means for implementing them. Activists count on members of the establishment to fall over themselves in trying to give in to these impossible goals—as the NFL did. Meanwhile, agitators can destroy present “oppressive” structures that keep order and install the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Hence the call to defund the police and jails to secure “a future without the terror of policing and prisons.” There is no room for compromise in this debate. Mr. Kaepernick insists that “abolition is the only way to secure a future beyond anti-black institutions of social control, violence, and premature death.”
What will replace the police and prisons is never clear. The quarterback’s playbook uses warm and evasive phrases like “investing in people” and “divesting from punishment.” The people will see “the establishment of transformative and restorative processes” governed by “community-based methods of accountability.”
Make It Impossible
All this is done in the name of the people. Abolishing policing and prisons is the first step toward destroying order. The next step is installing a Marxist paradise that imposes radical equality (and universal death and misery) at the expense of freedom.
Mr. Kaepernick finishes his article by declaring, “another world is possible.” The public should sack the revolutionary quarterback’s plan, ensuring that it never gets off the ground.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book "Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society--Where We've Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go." He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.