Let’s call it the Kaepernick Effect, in honor of the unemployed quarterback whose hair seems to get bigger as his employment chances get smaller. You know, the guy who’s amongst the elite of the elite in terms of income, but presumes to lecture the rest of us about oppression.
The Kaepernick Effect, like lice or a stomach bug in a first grade classroom, has insidiously spread from the gridiron to other sports and players looking for a little bit of media attention (what they usually get, deservedly, is disdain from everyday Americans). And now it’s made its way to a team of 8-and-under football players.
The entire Cahokia Quarterback Club football team, which is made up of kids who are eight or even younger, took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem before their game last Sunday at Little Devil’s Field in Belleville, Ill. And they were encouraged to do so by their coach.
“One of the kids asked me if I saw (people) protesting and rioting in St. Louis. I said yes; I said, ‘Do you know why they are doing it?’” said Coach Orlando Gooden.
Coach Gooden said his player responded, “Because black people are getting killed and nobody’s going to jail.”
Gooden, who played football at Mizzou, said the kids knew about the Jason Stockley decision.
“I felt like it was a good teaching moment for me to circle the team and have a meeting,” he said.
The coach said he spoke to them about that and other situations that have happened in our country. He then explained why former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem.
“One of the kids asked, ‘Can we do that?’ I said, ‘As long as we know why we’re doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it.’”
Here’s the problem, though. Did they know why they were taking a knee? Was it a chance to take part in a fad, or did the coach and other adults present engage in an age-appropriate discussion of why it might or might not be a good idea to kneel during the anthem? And what about using this “teaching moment” to challenge the falsehood put forth by the child that “black people are getting killed and nobody’s going to jail”?
Coach Gooden went on to say, “What I teach my kids is love, integrity, honesty, fairness, respect … boundaries.” While it’s good the coach is teaching these important things, let’s be clear, these are not things Colin Kaepernick
stands kneels for. Kaepernick kneels for one thing: Colin Kaepernick. It is a self-indulgent temper tantrum from a man who has thrived because America gave him many opportunities to do so. His ingratitude to the nation that helped him succeed is not the lesson to be teaching the pee wee team.
We’re talking about third graders here. They don’t have the maturity to take on this issue; they almost definitely had little understanding of what they were doing. The adults knew better, but let it happen anyway.
So, fair warning to parents: not only do we have to worry about what our kids are learning at school, seeing on the internet, watching on TV … we have to fear indoctrination via sports teams, even at the youngest ages.