Saturday, September 08, 2018

Sacrificing Everything. Without Even Trying.


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Taya Kyle, widow of “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, delivered a solid, sane, and mostly logical critique of the recent Nike ad featuring NFL ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Her critique is right on the money (accidental pun claimed). To the point: Kaepernick, the devout Christian, has not sacrificed “everything.” He has sacrificed, but the loss is nowhere close to “everything.”

She elaborates, saying that men like Pat Tilman, the devout atheist who left the NFL to enlist in the armed forces and then was killed (by “friendly” fire), sacrificed everything. She mentions other “warriors” who have lost their lives because of what they believe in.

She likens Kaepernick’s “sacrifice” of his career to her own career “sacrifice” in order to stay home with her children. I find it an awkward comparison, but her point is still made.

The argument is solid and important. Nike has perhaps overplayed by using the word “everything.” By so doing they have commercialized, sanitized, and sensationalized a legitimate cause.

But it would be absolutely wrong to let Nike’s marketing decision and Taya Kyle’s critique distract from that legitimate cause. We cannot forget that cause. We cannot forget that Kaepernick’s protest is also about lost lives. Taya Kyle ignores those lives.

A black boy with a toy is shot in the park. A black man is shot for open-carrying in an open-carry state. A black man is shot in the back. A black teen is shot in the back. A black man is killed by a policewoman invading the teen’s apartment. A black school-worker is shot while co-operating with the police during a routine traffic stop. A black woman mysteriously dies in police custody.

These people did not actively “sacrifice everything.” They did not calculate the risk and select sacrifice, like Kaepernick did, like Tilman did, and like so many others have done. They did not have the chance. No, they were simply going about their lives being black. And their lives were taken. They did lose EVERYTHING. For no reason. That is what the protest is about.

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