Wednesday, August 31, 2016

USA Veterans Sound Off In Support Of Football Quarterback Colin Kaepernick's Right To Protest

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents selected tweets from United States veterans that are written in support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to remain seated when the national anthem was sung during a preseason game. Kaepernick indicated that his refusal to stand as is the custom during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner", the United States national anthem was in protest of the way this nation oppresses Black people and other people of Color.

Information about Colin Kaepernick is included in this post along with specific information about his protest during that preseason game. Information about the pro-slavery stance in the lyrics of the third verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for historical, sociological, and cultural purposes.

In addition to documenting this viral hashtag, given the purpose of this cultural blog, I'm interested in documenting the African American Vernacular English words that are found in some of these tweets such as "homie" (technically, a person who is from your neigborhood), "brother" (a general referent for a Black man from another Black person), "Peace" (a farewell statement), "clapback season" (time for a person to give a strong response/rebuttal/retort instead of brushing off an insult), and "have a seat" (in the context of this discussion, to shut up).

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all who are quoted in this post and thanks for all those who serve in the United States military to protect Americans' rights to peacefully protest.

"Colin Rand Kaepernick (born November 3, 1987) is an American football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL)...

Early life and high school
Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Heidi (Zabransky) Russo, a 19-year-old white woman who was single and destitute at the time.[1] His birth father, an African American, was out of the picture before he was born.[2][3][4] Russo placed her son for adoption with Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple... Kaepernick became the youngest of their three children. He lived in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, until age four, and attended grade school in Turlock, California.[6][7]...

2016 season
National anthem controversy
Before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on August 26, 2016, Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem. During a post-game interview he was asked why he sat down and stated, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." The 49ers also released a statement which said, "The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."[44]...

From Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during national anthem By Steve Wyche, NFL Media reporter, Published: Aug. 27, 2016 at 10:04 a.m. Updated: Aug. 28, 2016 at 04:33 p.m.
"San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.

His latest refusal to stand for the anthem -- he has done this in at least one other preseason game -- came before the 49ers' preseason loss to Green Bay at Levi's Stadium on Friday night.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick's decision: "The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."

Niners coach Chip Kelly told reporters Saturday that Kaepernick's decision not to stand during the national anthem is "his right as a citizen" and said "it's not my right to tell him not to do something."....

Slavery and the national anthem: The surprising history behind Colin Kaepernick's protest
By AJ Willingham, CNN, August 31, 2016
" "I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world."

That's not Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback whose refusal to stand during the national anthem has invited criticism from all corners of the sports world.

That's Jackie Robinson, beloved baseball pioneer and civil rights activist, writing in his 1972 autobiography, "I Never Had It Made."

After Kaepernick was spotted sitting during the anthem preceding last Friday's NFL preseason game, the struggling quarterback said he would not stand "to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

It's hard not to notice their words are almost perfectly aligned. But it shouldn't be a surprise when you consider some historical context, namely, that the anthem actually contains a reference to slavery and Kaepernick is far from the first athlete to question its scope.

The national anthem's forgotten lyrics
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 about the American victory at the Battle of Fort McHenry. We only sing the first verse, but Key penned three more. This is the third verse:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The mere mention of "slave" is not entirely remarkable; slavery was alive and well in the United States in 1814. Key himself owned slaves, was an anti-abolitionist and once called his African brethren "a distinct and inferior race of people."

Some interpretations of these lyrics contend Key was in fact taking pleasure in the deaths of freed black slaves who had decided to fight with the British against the United States."...

From "US Veterans Explain Why They're Standing With Kaepernick" by Julie Craven, 8/31/2016
"It is his protected right - a right I swore an oath to defend", one veteran said.
....Marcus Newsone, who served in the U.S. army from 200-2011, told the Huffington Post he was tired of seeing Kaepernick bashed for "exercising his 1st amendment right". In an email he said he was also tired of people using veterans to argue against Kaepernick's stance "especially when that flag and anthem has been racist against people historically, treated Veterans like crap in the past, and now, and in some cases [using] us as a vehicle for their ignorant agendas."

So he started #VeteransforKaepernick - a hashtag for veterans to voice their support for Kaepernick"...


These tweets are given in relative chronological order based on their posting date on Twitter with the oldest dated tweet given first. I'm only including the day and not the time these tweets were posted. Numbers are assigned to these posts for referencing purposes only.

It should be noted that most-but not all- of the photographs that accompany these tweets are of Black men and Black women in United States military uniforms.

August 28, 2016
1. VeteransForKaep ‏@WinkWestwood Aug 28 Houston, TX
"#VeteransForKaepernick ✊🏽"

August 29, 2016
2. #VeteransForKaep ‏@WinkWestwood Aug 29 Houston, TX
"One of my homies posted this. Which is why he's still my homey. #VeteransForKaepernick ✊🏽"
Eric Mcglory
"If I became rich and famous today, and I publicly spoke out or took a stance that u didn’t agree with (like the mistreatment of blk people in this country) would yall burn one of my uniforms (BDUS, DCUS, ACUS, CLASS As, PTs) #kaepernick"
#worrying about the messnegar

August 30, 2016
3. OfCourseNotMaryann ‏@dwright1906
"So when people see the #VeteransForKaepernick hashtag, which group do they use as a scapegoat to continue to display their ignorance?"

4. ⚜BEARD ⚜ ‏@army__strong_ Grambling, LA
"I agree with @Kaepernick7 100% don't miss the message by shooting the messenger #veteransforkaepernick"

5. StopLookingAtMyFeet® ‏@ImSoFlorida
"Wow this #veteransforkaepernick has taken over Twitter!!!"

6. Martie Simmons ‏@msimmons444
"The Nat'l Anthem was no where in my Oath but supporting & defending the Constitution was.... #VeteransforKaepernick"

7. holy hell ‏@holyhellkel
"#veteransforkaepernick I no longer own a uniform but I will always be a disabled veteran. I almost died for everyone's freedom."

8. Ed Beck
"#VeteransForKaepernick Because we're actually not all self-centered racists. #BlackLivesMatter"

9. Kiss My Converse ‏@koopa_kinte
"👈🏿 I've dealt with racism before, during, and after service. B/c the country only cares about my service on holidays #Veteransforkaepernick"

10. Mr. It Is Our Duty ‏@Mr_ItIsOurDuty San Antonio, TX
"I know the cost of freedom. I've paid for it & am still paying the price to exercise it #VeteransforKaepernick"

11. Amadeus Mozart ‏@EsquireMusic111
"Proud to say that I am one of the #VeteransforKaepernick"

12. Kiara S. ‏@KiaraSimonee
"The #VeteransForKaepernick tag might shatter a few narratives.

If you're a vet reading this tweet, thank you for your service❤️"

13. A.J. Richards ‏@WillLiftForFun
"In case there was doubt left

I'm a veteran and I support @Kaepernick7 #VeteransForKaepernick"

14. Ms.Bordeaux ‏@InezBordeaux St Louis, MO
"My fiance served not 1 BUT 2 tours in Iraq and STILL gets pulled out of his car, handcuffed and sat on the curb by #VeteransforKaepernick"

15. Black Jesus Barbie ™ ‏@RihTweetMe
"You can love your country and ask your country to do better at the same time. #VeteransForKaepernick"

16. |_ë$líê ‏@LariskaPargitay Elmhurst, IL
"#VeteransforKaepernick I fought for EVERYONE to enjoy freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Not just false patriots"

17. Dannon West ‏@YoungDwest Lancaster, CA
"When veterans start tellin' racists to have a seat!... #VeteransForKaepernick"

18. Blorenzo ‏@blorenzo
"#VeteransForKaepernick Although my grandfather served two tours in Vietnam, he couldn't even rent a home near his base b/c he was black"

19. blasianbri ‏@blasianbri_
"My grandfather, a black man, was denied a hotel room WHILE IN HIS SERVICE DRESS. #VeteransForKaepernick"

20. #JamarionRobinson ‏@pinkpanorama
"My dad, an Afro-American Vietnam vet: the curtians were lowered when we passed through white towns.

August 31, 2016
21. Star_Gayzher
"#veteransforKaepernick Say what you need to say brother. Let that melanin talk."

22. Rachel Harding ‏@raqueldeoxum
"#VeteransForKaepernick #BlackLivesMatter Thank you for your service @Bit3Sized Peace.

23. Jess K. Clotfelter ‏@BaeFranklin
"Don't use my service or the deaths of my brothers and sisters to hide the real issue #veteransforkaepernick"

24. Charles Bassett ‏@CharlesBassett
"My grandfather served so Rosa Parks could sit down. I served so @Kaepernick7 could sit down. #VeteransForKaepernick"

25. Traynesha Cole ‏@TrayneshaCole
"African American Woman who took a oath to serve & protect | I support this movement #VeteransForKaepernick"

26. Flagranté Delicto ‏@__supremedee
"Army or not, I will ALWAYS be black. I stand with him . #veteransforKaepernick"

27.Lowell Essex ‏@lowellessex
"#veteransforkaepernick I was discriminated against while proudly serving as a 13E in the U.S. Army. #TIMEFORCHANGE"

28. Sara BenincasaVerified account
"Folks calling @Kaepernick7 anti-patriotic are mainly Trump supporters voting for a man who avoided the draft 5 times"

29. Fran ‏@Frannfine
"#VeteransForKaepernick it's clapback season and I'm here for it"

30. Enshika ✨ ‏@EnshiFreshh
"I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song or piece of fabric. #VeteransForKaepernick"

31. D ‏@Delo_Taylor
"Racists trying to figure out how to troll #VeteransForKaepernick without looking like they're anti-Military"

32. Thump™ ‏@__Thump
"I support Kaepernick🤘🏾to all the vets/active military, thank you for your service! #VeteransForKaepernick"

33. Jen Schubert ‏@sillyauntjen Alameda, CA
"Basic human rights > songs & cloth. #VeteransForKaepernick"

34.‏William E Armstrong ‏@wearmstrongjr1
"#VeteransForKaepernick Funny how most who are criticizing and complaining DID NOT stand up to serve their country. USAF Vet."

35. Volunteer Villain ‏@Simple_____Jack
"how I drive back home because I fear dressed as a civilian if I get pulled over I may die #VeteransForKaepernick"
This tweet includes a photo of the blogger dressed in his soldier’s uniform

36. Valkyrie ‏@GutlebenLaura
"#VeteransForKaepernick I hear North Korea is a good place if you want to force people to stand for an anthem..".

37. luke ‏@californiaqueer
"I wonder what all those racists that harassed me yesterday for defending Kaepernick are thinking rn with the #VeteransForKaepernick tag"

38. John M. Atkinson ‏@Dekarch
"@Kaepernick7 Freedom of Speech is an absolute. And I'm sick of police violence too. #veteransforkaepernick"

39. Charles ClymerVerified account ‏@cmclymer
"Don't use my service--or that of any veteran--to justify the silencing of black Americans. Not on my watch."

40. Brian Trautman ‏@BrianJTrautman
"#VeteransForKaepernick going viral is awesome as it speaks to an important aspect of @VFPNational's 'Peace at Home, Peace Abroad' campaign."

41. _The 5th Element_ ‏@a_for2day
"#VeteransForKaepernick is so important. Service does NOT equal silence in the face of injustice! 🇺🇸 #blacklivesmatter 🇺🇸"

42. El Hefe™ ‏@PirateJhon216
"This hashtag has temporarily restored my faith in humanity #VeteransForKaepernick"

43. Rare Rap Records ‏@RareRapRadio
"Being a veteran has nothing to do with the National Anthem. I am tired of being used as a political prop. #veteransforkaepernick"

44. Lakol Magazine ATL ‏@lakolmagazine
"Thank you to our vets for supporting Black and Brown lives!! #VeteransForKaepernick Goes Viral on Twitter"

45. Freshness Guaranteed
"My Dad fought in #VietnamWar & #GulfWar. He fought was for true freedom, not nationalism #VeteransForKaepernick"

46. Rachel Harding ‏@raqueldeoxum
Rachel Harding Retweeted Freshness Guaranteed
"Thank you for your father's service @stephnophony #VeteransForKaepernick #BlackLivesMatter Peace."

47. Kevin Stanfield ‏@StanfieldKevin
"I proudly served my country and I'm proud of Kaepernick for speaking his mind. God Bless America!"

48. #VeteransForKaepernick
Jodi Holdman ‏@sftbl33 Florida, USA
"I served w/honor so he could sit in protest.All should read 4 verses of anthem;understand what was written about.


49. Saffron the Sadge ‏@JSoAbove
"As a naval veteran & Afro-Latino immigrant who suffers from PTSD my brother would stand w/ #VeteransforKaepernick

I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song #VeteransForKaepernick"

50. Danny Fantom ‏@ShajuanYeWest
"This #VeteransForKaepernick thing so beautiful 😭 this is the plot twist "what about our troops" Twitter didn't wanna see"

51. Fanta Sesay ‏@fantasesay
Fanta Sesay Retweeted Cas Mudde
"This is the truth. Time to speak up, even when they want you to shut up. #veteransforkaepernick"

52. #SandersSoldOut ‏@Rabidtwinkie77
"The man is a patriot, I'm a Vet, I served for all people's rights, not police brutality. Sit or stand it's his right #VeteransForKaepernick"

53. Miss B. ‏@brittneeraebaby
"I served this country honorably for his right to protest the way he saw fit. #VeteransForKaepernick"

54. Anakin Noir. ‏@JothamKitara
"Watching people attempt to discredit #veteransforkaepernick with all the cognitive dissonance they can muster is hilarious & infuriating"

55. IG&SC: BennyHeightz ‏@BennyHeightz
"How do I explained to them that I defend a country that won't defend me?"
This tweet is accompanied by a photograph of a Black man in US military uniform holding one child and standing next to his other two children.

56. Daniel Feehan ‏@danielfeehan
"As long as any American feels oppressed, I should hope someone would be so bold as to bring that truth to light (1/2)#veteransforKaepernick"

57.Daniel Feehan ‏@danielfeehan
"..however inconvenient for themselves and others, in order to continuously strive to form a more perfect Union. (2/2)

58. Cole Lawson ‏@iamcolelawson
"The oath said defend the constitution not the anthem #VeteransForKaepernick"

59. Digital Resistance ‏@dgtlresistance
"#VeteransForKaepernick Stand Up for His Right to Sit Down "

60. Pete ‏@itspeterj
"Singing the anthem of a country that doesn't value you is the same as singing happy birthday 4 someone u don't like. #VeteransForKaepernick"

61. David Long ‏@gawdmail
"I did not see my buddies die facedown in the muck so minorities could be silenced... to coin a phrase." #VeteransForKaepernick

62. WriteMyTruth_BHP310 ‏@DragonPoetikFly
"✊RT @EnshiFreshh: I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song or piece of fabric. #VeteransForKaepernick"

63. tiffany ♛ ‏@PrincxssT
"i respect the fact that this hashtag is a thing "#VeteransForKaepernick" I think ppl serve so that we keep our rights &that includes protest"

64.Trung D. Nguyen ‏@SquallLHeart
"Unless you've served, do not speak on our behalf. We can do that ourselves."

65. Vicky ‏@foursixthreeDP
"The #VeteransForKaepernick hashtag is why I'm proud to be an American citizen"

66. Joe Catron ‏@jncatron
"#VeteransForKaepernick Stand Up for His Right to Sit Down"

67.John F. ‏@Pariahjf
"#VeteransForKaepernick THANK YOU!!!!! Coming from a military family, this does my heart good to see and hear! Thank you all! #Kapernick"

68. Michael Asenbrenner ‏@mikeasenbrenner 12m12 minutes ago
"Dissent in the face of injustice is every patriotic American's duty."

69.Fetzer Mills Jr ‏@Fetzer2
"#VeteransForKaepernick I served 4 years so people would have freedom of expression in this country"

70.TRIP ‏@TRIP_77
"As a Navy veteran I'm 100% on board with #VeteransForKaepernick stop trying to police someone's free speech or refusal to stand for a flag"

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