Football is a game of superheroes vs. super villains.
Compared to us mere mortals, football players are seen as godlike: they can run faster, throw further, tackler harder, and shimmy through an ocean of bodies better than a clown fish can navigate through coral reef.
We treat football players like they're above the human population. Their cars are more expensive, they live more lavish lives, and they remind us of the American dream's infinite potential.
And then you have Colin Kaepernick.
Colin Kaepernick has been stripped of his god-like identity for protesting the national anthem. His act of protest humanized him and knocked him down to our level. Anti-black slurs pepper his Twitter mentions and NFL fans have torched his 49ers jersey in protest.
Why? Because he took a stand on a civil rights issue?
Nah. That's not why. THIS is why:
American football has been around since the mid 1800s. It wasn't until the mid 1920s that football truly took flight and transitioned from a collegiate sport into a professional one. At the same time, our country had started to introduce itself to the idea of celebrities. Babe Ruth, Josephine Baker and Charlie Chaplin became household names and American football became our country's growing, household sport.
But when the stock market crashed in 1929, which spurred the Great Depression, Americans were desperate for any ounce of hope. That's when football crawled out the university gutters and exploded. Football was a safe space where impoverished and middle-class white Americans could sit down and enjoy a game without being reminded of the horrors of war, poverty, or the 9-to-5 grind.
So when Colin Kaepernick refused to support the national anthem, he reminded everyone that 1) he's just as human as any of us and like us, he too has a passionate view on civil rights; 2) you cannot ignore the realities of racial injustice by turning on the TV and 3) even an NFL god can "humble" himself enough to care civil rights.
If Colin Kaepernick, Simone Manuel, Richard Sherman and other socially aware professional athletes with godlike physical abilities and godlike paychecks can care about anti-Black violence, what excuse do us common folk have?
If Colin Kaepernick can risk his multi-million dollar career in the name of Black lives, why are you and your shitty job afraid to speak up?
"I don't wanna talk about all this race stuff. Just let me watch my football game and leave me alone!"
That's why. Because you know you don't give a shit and you hate feeling guilty about it.