Due to the overwhelming pressure that these athletes are being placed under, regular death threats, taunts and racial slurs being hurled at them during games, and losing endorsement deals left and right, and in the case of Colin Kaepernick, being openly white balled from even playing, some of the players unquestionably feel pressure to balance out their principles with the need to ensure their careers continue. So, when the bourgeois capitalists harp this tired narrative that the protests are "disrespectful towards the U.S. military and the flag" its understandable that some of these athletes, lacking political education and organization and having primarily having to stage these protests on an individual or small collective basis, are succumbing to this pressure. This is evidenced by how quick many of them are to establish they aren't challenging the military or the flag. In fact, the athletes are kept on the defensive on this question by the capitalist media. Despite how many times they declare they are not protesting the flag, they are asked unstop about it.
Well, understanding the forces that have these brave athletes on that defensive, we have to state loud and clear that our people have fought and died on the front lines in every war this backward country has engaged in since and including the so-called American Independence war. In truth, the first soldier killed during that war was an African; Crispis Attucks. And, since then, we have been dying in all their wars and today we have absolutely nothing to show for it. The capitalist state institutions in this country protect those employed by it who shoot us down like dogs in the street. So, clearly, we owe the U.S. military nothing at all, but to abandon it wholesale. And, as for their rag, I mean flag, most of our people are not stupid. We know full well the history of systemic and individual racism in this country. We know that all the oppression directed against us operates with full impunity in this society. We know that every institution of this country protects white supremacy and the masses of Europeans (white people) in this country stand lock step with each and every tenet of white supremacy and oppression against our people. Since we know all of this, we have never seen the U.S. flag the way the majority of white people see it. We have never seen the U.S. the way most white people see it. We know this is an empire and to most of us, honoring the U.S. flag is the same as asking Jewish people to honor the swastika.
So, despite the capitalist system having no shortage of 21st century uncle toms to trout out and tell us how wrong we are, we know those people are bought and paid for. They know they cannot even enter our community with that talk. Frederick Douglass spoke eloquently about the contradictions of the U.S. flag and his unwillingness to honor it or the so-called national anthem approximately 250 years ago. And Douglass was no militant. Jackie Robinson, the first African to play in big league baseball, who was a republican and never could be confused with a progressive thinking African, also expressed clearly in the 1950s, that he couldn't stand for the national anthem.
If you drive through any predominantly African community, anywhere in the U.S. you won't see U.S. flags waving anywhere close to the way you see them in white communities. If you go to our events in our communities e.g. weddings, graduations, even commemorations, you won't hear it or see it. Years ago, at an African student event at a university, which was hardly a hotbed campus of radicalism, I was asked to give an opening statement as a way by the organizers to fire up the students. I devised a skit where myself and another co-comrade, had re-written their national anthem to reflect the contradictions within the song. I don't remember all the words, except the end which we concluded with "and, the home for a fee, and the land of the slaves." When we started by playing the music and asking everyone to stand, about 75% of the audience, without even knowing they were being tricked, didn't stand, and there were loud protests all throughout the room. This is a typical response by African people to this sad representation they call a national anthem and remember, this wasn't even a politically progressive crowd. This was a group of petty-bourgeois and privileged college students. Its not like we were in the middle of a severely oppressed African community.
So, a few years ago, when former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Josh Howard, goofing around with friends at his former college campus during a football game, joked on camera when the national anthem started that "Black people don't do that s - - t!" he may have gotten into trouble with the NBA and its mostly white and ignorant fans, but he was merely stating a clear truth.
As someone who has witnessed, encouraged, and celebrated all of the above for decades. As someone who hasn't stood for your anthem since Jimmy Carter was president. I'm telling you we ain't standing for your flag, your song, or you, because that's really what its about. We ain't with you because you are always with the forces that oppress us. And, all this power ramping against our athletes is only serving to energize our people and all other peace loving people who stand with us against injustice. So, for all of you people who are getting pumped up enough to confront us long suffering and tired souls when we don't feel like honoring hypocrisy, you better hope you don't run into the wrong ones of us with your racist confrontations and rants. I'd suggest you think before you act. Or soon, we are going to be using a new term. "Suicide by oppressed African."