I’ve said before that everyone and their mother (including his own) has weighed in on Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem. I cant seem to scroll through my Facebook and Twitter feed without seeing something about his protest, justified on the claim that he doesn’t want to honor a nation “that oppresses black people.”
A handful of celebrities weighed in with opinions that nobody asked for or wanted, and even President Barack Obama voiced an opinion (in support of Kaepernick) on the matter.
The latest to weight in is the wife of Muhammad Ali. For the record, her husband was known for protesting on racial and political issues himself. He infamously dodged the draft for the Vietnam war, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the war, and was eventually arrested, found guilty, and stripped of his boxing titles. It wasn’t until eh successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court that he had his conviction overturned.
At least in the case of Ali he was in protest of something that could’ve cost him his life – he wasn’t crying “oppression” over a form of oppression that he never faced while earning $19 million a year. Who knows what Muhammad Ali would’ve said to Colin Kaepernick had he still been alive, but what his wife is saying is likely a bit of a preview.
As Michelle Jesse of AllenBWest.com reported:
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.”
Don’t expect Kaepernick to get off his high horse anytime soon. He has pledged to donate $1 million towards organizations that fight police brutality, but the organization that’s likely to receive the largest chunk of that change is Black Lives Matter. Is there a single thing that BLM has done to either improve race relations between police and the public, or improve the lives of black people… at all? I don’t think so.