Yes, people are still talking about Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand during our national anthem in an effort to protest racial oppression and inequality in the United States.
President Obama weighed in today, suggesting that Kaepernick “has a point,” while noting that “there’s a long history of sports figures” exercising their constitutional right to make a statement.
One of those, to whom many have compared Kaepernick, is the late Muhammad Ali, who was known — besides being one of the greatest athletes of our time — for being a controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring.
Ali’s ex-wife, however, doesn’t believe the comparison between her ex-husband and the 49ers quarterback is warranted, and she had a few choice words for Kaepernick — among other things, to get off his high horse.
Khalilah Camacho Ali, who was married to Muhammad from 1967 to 1976, told TMZ over the weekend that Kaepernick should not be proud of refusing to stand for the national anthem.“What he’s doing right now is not heroic,” Khalilah says. “I would love to meet with him or talk to him on the phone to help share his message in a better way.”
Khalilah was married to the former heavyweight champion when he refused to fight in the Vietnam War, and she says she advised him on that decision.“I helped Muhammad decide whether he was going to the army or going to jail,” Khalilah said. “He listened to my every word. You see the impact that had on our nation? Colin could absolutely have the same impact if he made the right decisions to really make a difference.”
If Khalilah was advising Kaepernick, she says she would first tell him to apologize for disrespecting the American flag. Like many others before her, she does not believe the act itself accomplishes anything.
“I will help him meet the groups that will fight with him, donate to charities of all people — not just minorities — because we cannot single anyone out,” said Khalilah. “If he wants isolation to end, he needs to prove that he cares about all people, and not just his people.
“If he is willing to get off his high horse and humble himself, we could do a lot of good together.”
Of course, since Ali is no longer around to share his own opinion, we can’t know if he would agree with his ex-wife here; however, some have pointed out that Ali’s own protests were backed by sacrifices like having to give up his boxing license for three years and almost facing jail time.
Of course, in the face of brutal criticism over his decision not to stand for the national anthem, Kaepernick has suggested he will donate $1 million to communities in need and possibly dedicate his life to social activism if he were cut by the 49ers.
For now, at least, it looks like Kaepernick will be doing a lot more sitting, as the 49ers just announced over the weekend that he’ll be number 2 quarterback — though still guaranteed $11.9 million.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]