When the activist and former American quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt down during the national anthem at the start of NFL games, it was his own special way of protesting against police brutality and racial inequality. He was attacked and eventually blackballed from the game he loved but he never relented and continued to send out his message which spread around the world like wild fire.
It certainly “helped” that lots of police brutality videos against blacks were exposed around this time and this led to massive protests and the eventual conviction of a few police officers. In actual fact though, the impact of systemic racism in America and other parts of the world has barely been dented.
No one really expected that Kaepernick’s personal protest would become a focal point in one of the world’s greatest games – football. A beautiful game so riddled by racism especially in Europe. It was inevitable that the biggest league in Europe would jump on the bandwagon to identify with the scourge and confront it. To many, it was a good philosophy to jump behind the slogan – no room for racism and follow up with badges, and then taking the knee. All these have been nothing but perfunctory at best.
The concept of racism is one I have struggled to understand for a long time. The antagonism, discrimination and prejudice based on a person’s membership of an ethnic or racial group has always sounded like flowery words for hate which, for me is the absolute bottom line. Hateful people are small minded and insecure in their very limited understanding so hate is the mask they wear.
Why am I talking about racism? It’s what keeps coming to mind whenever I think of the West Ham’s Frenchman, Kurt Zouma’s current predicament because he was videoed kicking his cat. The international outrage has been nothing short of bewildering – all because of a damned cat. When I read he had been fined a humongous £250,000, I had to Google this cat to be sure it wasn’t a nickname for a person.
This is not to ignore that animal brutality laws exist or condone the act in itself but the outrage seems geared at one outcome – to ruin his career and leave him destitute or worse, dead. Adidas pulled off their sponsorship and many other brands have followed and there is now talk of a possible prison sentence in France. Is it going to stop before every ounce of dignity as a human being is stripped from him on account of an albeit thoughtless action against a lower animal?
If we are really being honest, from the reactions seen, who is really the lower animal on the totem pole?
How is it that for all the racist incidents we have witnessed in European football, there has never been a fine this huge or a backlash this vicious? What kind of world do we now live in where the acceptable standard of behaviour is two-faced in its application? If this was really about the cat, why is Zouma’s brother who it is alleged took the video now under suspension from his club pending an investigation?
Some times, you just have to look through the colour to see what lies beneath. Some Black History to look back on in the years to come, huh?🤡
Photo Credits: The Internet…of course.