Antonio Brown Has Nothing In Common With Colin Kaepernick

Antonio Brown has more in common with Donald Trump than with Colin Kaepernick. The comparison between the two former football stars is ludicrous. Unless you’re telling me that they both are decent football players there is no comparison at all.

Antonio Brown, like Donald Trump, is a selfish, self-possessed, misogynistic chauvinist, and is an accused sexual predator, who thinks the world revolves around, indeed belongs to, him. Colin Kaepernick, on the other hand, is a selfless man of integrity who will sacrifice greatly for his principles, even if it costs him everything. A better comparison as a human being and football player to Colin Kaepernick is Pat Tillman.

Pat Tillman, because of the circumstances of his death, as a soldier during war time, has become a poster child for the superpatriot. He gave up football to die for his country. How dare Colin Kaepernick kneel before the flag that Pat Tillman died to protect, some have said.

But those are superficial interpretations. It is easy to love, or hate, a man that you do not know, simply because of his overt actions. Antonio Brown, who brought with him locker room conflict, me-first propaganda, and – in the end – misogyny and purported criminal conduct has become better known as his story unfolds. We can, like with Donald Trump, begin to see what is in his heart. But with Colin Kaepernick and Pat Tillman we choose to only know the surface. We read their books by the covers.

Pat Tillman looks great in army fatigues. Well-built, a strong jaw, white. This is what we imagine from our frontliners. They are the responders that keep the dark-skinned enemy at bay.

460px-Corporal_Patrick_Tillman

Pat Tillman joined the army in a time of high intensity, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. Like so many other young men he was caught up in the jingoistic fervor of that moment and he joined the service, it was said, seeking meaning. But those who knew him best knew him to be anti-war, against the policy of invasion in Iraq, and against the presidency of George Bush. In fact, his death by friendly fire has been suggested to have been intentional, and there was a cover-up in the wake of his passing.

Like Pat Tillman, Colin Kaepernick is largely misunderstood. Many of the very same people that see the anti-war and atheistic Tillman as a symbol of god and country also see Kaepernick as a traitor. Again, only the surface image matters. Kaepernick was a black man kneeling while everyone else stood during the national anthem. That was disrespectful, they said, to the flag and to the troops. The opposite was true.

Colin Kaepernick’s protest was never against the flag or against the military – there is not even any evidence that Kaepernick was as anti-war as, say, Pat Tillman – but against police brutality. Specifically he protested against police brutality perpetrated against people of color, incidents of which are widely documented. In the beginning the protest took the form of simply sitting on a bench and ignoring the anthem, but Kaepernick changed that stance to a kneel at the behest of a fellow football player and military veteran, to show respect for those who served. The kneeling, therefore, was a compromise and a show of respect, though it has been interpreted otherwise.

But that is an easy thing to do, to judge another by superficial actions without knowing the story. That’s a human thing to do. Donald Trump was elected to office on a wave of superficiality, and remains popular among a certain segment of the American populace today for the same.

Despite his shortcomings – his bigotry and chauvinism, his misogyny and narcissistic nature – Donald Trump owns better than an 80% approval rating among Republicans. Some because he is white and against those who are brown. Some because he espouses a conservative agenda and stirs hate against those who are liberal. Some because he is rich, and America loves money. But all of these reasons are superficial, because the man himself, it is widely known, has spent his whole life as a cur. That may be the truth about Antonio Brown, too, but we only know his recent history not his entire story.

But despite all of that, I believe that Antonio Brown would get another opportunity in the NFL before Colin Kaepernick. We have seen, in the past, how much an NFL fan can overlook in the personal lives of the players as long as that player can help the team win. The perception, again, is the reality. The perception of Colin Kaepernick is such that those who follow the likes of Donald Trump will tune out the team if they see a Colin Kaepernick upon it. Owners will risk signing a player with a record of drug abuse, of animal abuse, of spousal abuse, or of sexual abuse, but will never risk alienating the superpatriot.

In a very real sense, Colin Kaepernick and Pat Tillman can be considered heroes. They both risked and lost everything for a cause greater than themselves. Kaepernick sacrificed his career in the name of justice and equality. Tillman lost his life serving in a war he did not believe in. Young men who may or may not have been misguided in their quests for personal meaning nonetheless took the leap, and did so in both cases with conviction and integrity.

The opposite of those men is Antonio Brown. The opposite of those men is Donald Trump. Not for conviction or integrity did either become public symbols, but for personal aggrandizement and selfish gain. Whereas Colin Kaepernick and Pat Tillman represent the best of us, Donald Trump and Antonio Brown represent the very worst.

Mistakes can be made. All four men have made them, as have we all. But our mistake, going forward, would be to place Antonio Brown and Colin Kaepernick in any likeness, or Donald Trump and Pat Tillman in the same. Both of the former are men of low character. Both of the latter are men of high integrity and are worthy of our respect.

Antonio Brown has more in common with Donald Trump than with Colin Kaepernick. Colin Kaepernick has more in common with Pat Tillman than with Antonio Brown. Remember that, and adjust your lens accordingly.

22 thoughts on “Antonio Brown Has Nothing In Common With Colin Kaepernick

  1. Awesome post Tom! I agree with you 100%, and I thank heaven that we (Steelers) got rid of that overpaid, narcist. His plan was to get to the Patriot’s at all costs, that’s why I think he made such a stink when he was with the Raiders. That shit over his “helmet” was plain stupidity, and he was doing it on purpose. Then low and behold, he got released and picked up by the exact team he wanted to be traded to. That, of course only lasted a very short while. I think it’s exactly what he deserved to get, good riddance! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There’s definitely something wrong upstairs, and when he came available I said, “not to my Rams!” Luckily, Sean McVay said the same thing when asked. I hope the best for the kid. He’s still young and, like I said, I don’t know what came before but there’s no reason (yet) to believe he is or will be the lifetime cur that Donald Trump is, was, and always will be, so I’m hopeful. Get it together, kid.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written piece. I don’t disagree with any part of your post. However, I paused for a moment at your statement that “we only know his (Brown’s) recent history not his entire story.”

    Living only about 20 miles north of Oakland it’s been impossible to not follow the Brown circus. At the outset, and up to the point that he flushed 30 million dollars by having his Raider contract voided, I just dismissed him as someone who has a few screws loose. And that’s probably the case. Lately though I’ve taken to wondering just what loosened the screws.

    My curiosity has been aroused after having watched some episodes of a Netflix reality series called Last Chance U. The series is about two Junior Colleges, one in Mississippi and one in Kansas, that recruit very talented football players who, either for academic reasons or trouble with the law, got released from D1 schools or missed out on going to D1 schools. These athletes’ JUCO experience is their “last chance” to redeem their football careers and get back to or into D1.

    In many cases, these are young men who were told throughout their lives that they were special and they were treated as such. Given that many seem barely literate they were apparently awarded, without earning them, grades that helped them maintain their athletic eligibility. They were passed along from grade to grade and school to school without having to meet any discernible academic standard (part way through his fall JUCO semester one young man was carrying 4 F’s and a D).

    Many of these young men grew up without at least one parent and in some cases without both parents. Their lives were characterized by poverty, street violence, the death or incarceration of a parent or relatives or friends, drug use and little if any mentoring. Despite knowing that JUCO is their last chance many still fail to get their lives back on course You wonder where they will end up. Back on the streets? In jail? Dead? At some point society will be paying the freight to take care of some of these young men whether it be the cost of public assistance or incarceration.

    And so I’ve gotten to wondering about Antonio Brown’s background. This is not to excuse him by any means, particularly the alleged violence and criminal behavior. I just wonder if family, society and the educational system failed him as he was growing up a gifted athlete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amazing response, Paulie, thank you for that!

      Sometimes, a lot of times, it is the background and upbringing. We are the culmination of our genes and environments, after all. Donald Trump was raised by a cur who surrounded himself with criminals and he became a cur who surrounds himself with criminals. That sort of chain does not bode well for Ivanka or Junior. I hope the best for Antonio Brown. Like I said above to huntress, this does not have to be his life. He’s young and the whole story is yet to be writ. For Donald Trump the story is long-since written and any who actually see with objectivity can see the man he has always been and always will be. As I’ve said in the past, gaining political power does not turn a corrupt man into a good one but more often does the opposite. Trump was corrupt long before he had political power, and he is exponentially more corrupt now.

      But AB is only just beginning. He has a chance to set it right, and to yet be a good man of honesty, conviction and principle. Like Pat Tillman and Colin Kaepernick. I hope he figures that out.

      Like

      1. Donald Trump is an entirely different ballgame. While the effects of Brown’s behavior don’t wander much beyond the sports world Trump’s boorishness, narcissism, and stupidity have worldwide repercussions. There might be some hope for Ivanka. She seems to be intelligent and there might just be some spark of humanity in there somewhere. Junior and Eric are lost. They’re as vulgar as the old man.

        As you say, Brown has time for redemption. I believe that society fails many young athletes. While it isn’t universal, many are told at a young age that they have a future in sports and they buy into it to the complete detriment of everything else. They don’t create for themselves a safety net, a plan B. It isn’t as if putting the pieces back together is impossible. It’s just harder.

        A classic case is Dexter Manley who entered the NFL illiterate. He’d managed to bluff his way through school and through life and those who had a fiduciary responsibility to prepare him for life failed him. After struggling for years he managed to right his course. I’ve included a link about Manley. You might find his story interesting. https://www.sbnation.com/2015/6/23/8713273/dexter-manley
        I’m enjoying your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I greatly appreciate that, Paulie! And I appreciate your depth of understanding and elucidative commentary. I’ll check out the Manley story; I remember him well.

        Funny, I almost said the same about Ivanka but second-guessed myself. She definitely comes across with more class, modesty, and a level of reserve, but she still backs the atrocities of the patriarch so I worry about her. Perhaps she feels she has no choice, is trapped? Or perhaps a sinister malevolence and ambition lies beneath that placid decor. But you’re absolutely right about Junior and Eric. Beasts, both.

        I just pulled up your latest entry, on Lexi, and look forward to the read. As you have probably learned by now, I’m all about politics, football … and dogs!

        Like

  3. Tom, I love this post even though I disagree with a bit of what you’ve laid out here. You make some fine points but I don’t agree with your praise of Kaep. A half white, third string WB raised by wealthy white step parents is hardly a civil rights hero to me and I will never support kneeling after 2 soldiers have handed me 2 folded flags on behalf of a grateful nation. But in fairness to your excellent post, he did risk it all and that is something.
    I also, as a supporter (60/40) of our President I don’t consider myself superficial or in love with money.
    That being said, I respect your positions and you wrote one of your better pieces here, worthy of national publication.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bill! I have a feeling the 60% of you that supports this dimwit is the good man who seeks conservative answers in this crazy world, and the 40% is the side that realizes he’s a dimwit and we deserve WAY better, conservative or not. I’m glad the Dems finally made the inquiry formalized, now if the leader of the free world will follow the law we’ll get some answers. I don’t care if the answers drive him from office or not, but there’s a lot of slime under those rocks and we, the people, need to see it.

      Incidentally, if it takes Biden down, too, all the better. And the Clintons. And Mitch and Nancy. I’m good with all of that. They are all “the swamp” in my eyes. Drain it.

      I don’t know how Kaep’s color or background has anything to do with his legitimacy as a civil rights hero; if you stand (or kneel) for what is right and it costs you greatly you’re a hero in my book. You’re a hero in my book, too, Bill. 👍

      Me? I’m just a guy with too many opinions and not enough time. 😉

      Thanks again for the great compliments and for reading. It means a lot to me!

      P.S. The kneeling and the soldiers have nothing in common. It was never meant as a disrespect to anyone and in fact was a show of respect to those who served (like Boyer). When you separate the propaganda surrounding the action you’re only left with the noble intent to bring attention to a troubling aspect of our society. The pig shoes and Colonial flag things, though, were stupid. 😁

      Like

      1. You’re right on the 60/40 my perceptive friend.
        Kaep’s color and upbringing is relevant to me because I guess he doesn’t strike me as oppressed. I’m probably wrong but that’s how I feel.
        The flag and the kneeling association, I’m probably wrong but it’s just how I feel

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Just my opinion but if you accept the dictionary definition of oppression as being “subject to unjust treatment” then the argument can be made that Kaepernick might very well qualify as being oppressed.

        The fact that dreadful QBs like Colt McCoy, Cody Kessler, Matt Barkley and Kyle Lauletta (0 for 5 with one INT) are still employed in the NFL and Kap can’t even get a tryout has a stink about it.
        And while a team, like any company, can hire anyone they choose it’s interesting that Reuben Foster (2 arrests for domestic violence), and Kareem Hunt (who was taped kicking a woman) were deemed to be worthy employees by the Redskins and the Browns respectively.

        I would like to say that I don’t understand how taking a knee is more heinous than assaulting a woman but sadly I do understand it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow.
    Reading this I realized something that you clearly already knew. People often ask, “Why do we treat football as important when it’s just a silly game?” It’s not the game that matters. The fact that so many of us tune in and are involved means that the words and actions of a football player can reach millions. The players, in other words, are imbued with power by us, just as, in a functioning democracy, our leaders are imbued with power by us. And in both football and politics we have a responsibility to call out the players who use their power irresponsibly. After all we’ve given them that power.
    And I appreciate that you’re speaking to how much deeper and more complicated the stories of Tillman and Kaepernick really are, how one has been broadly revered as a hero and the other treated by too many as a villain. In both cases they’ve been poorly misrepresented. Kaepernick especially is trying to raise awareness of police brutality, and its telling that many white people would rather call him “disrespectful” than talk about what too many people of color in the United States live with. We also have a responsibility to be well-informed and to focus our attention where it’s needed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a popular thing to tell actors to stick to acting, athletes to playing and singers to singing when they comment on society and politics. Do those same critics say that accountants should stick to the ledger, mechanics to turning a wrench and gardeners to mowing the lawn? Of course not.

      But as you say it’s the famous who have the power to deliver a message. They have a pulpit and if they are responsible citizens they should make use of that pulpit. Who will people notice and react to; some poor guy sleeping on the street with all his worldly possessions in a Hefty bag or someone with a voice like Colin Kaepernick?.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you so much, Chris, for reading and understanding, and for bringing into view the greater context of the argument. Of course this isn’t just about football or just about politics – or even just about the four persons mentioned in the article – it’s about society. And each of these figures, just like each of us, has a responsibility to the society that we live in. If you have a stage upon which millions can see, and you have a voice and a conviction, it is important that you take a stance. Colin Kaepernick has my utmost respect for doing so. Pat Tillman has my utmost respect for doing so.

      When this all started the argument I got most from my social peers – 80% of which are Trump-supporting conservatives – was that “this was not the place.” I always explained to them that the bus was “not the place” for Rosa Parks to protest her treatment, either, but her actions started a movement and corrected an injustice. There is no “right place” or “wrong place” to speak out against injustice; there is what is right and what is wrong.

      Donald Trump and Antonio Brown are as wrong as can be.

      Colin Kaepernick and Pat Tillman are as right as can be.

      We should exonerate the latter two and condemn the former two. But, as you can guess, those same social peers instead exonerate Donald Trump and Pat Tillman, of which there is no comparison, and vilify Antonio Brown and Colin Kaepernick, of which there is no comparison.

      So I typed up a corrective post. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed your article. You definitely gave me some food for thought and I like being able to see things from a different perspective…so thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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