Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Kneeling for Justice: Kaepernick’s Demonstration.”

For former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, his knee struck a nerve across America. Kaepernick, a talented quarterback, decided months ago to take a knee during the national anthem to bring attention to police terrorism against black people.

He is paying a steep price for his principled activism and protest in ways non-athletes can barely conceive, for professional athletes aren’t just guys and gals playing in a sport for entertainment. Elite athletes, especially at the professional level, have spent much of their lives, even as far back as high or middle school age, to build their bodies to perfect their craft. This single-minded devotion to a sport creates a focus that few of us ever achieve.

That Kaepernick is sacrificing his professional career in the face of NFL hostility speaks well of the man. His sustained protest brings to mind the anti-war efforts of the late Muhammad Ali who, because his license to box was taken from him, was denied the ability to perform his craft when he was at the very top of his game. He lost surely for a time, but so did his millions of fans.

Similarly, track and field athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith ran and won their races at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. Smith and Carlos were subjected to years of repression after they raised their fists in Black Power salute during the medal ceremonies. Colin Kaepernick follows in that proud and principled tradition, for by taking a knee, he is standing for justice for millions whose voices can’t be heard.

From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.