It was, once upon a time, a big deal to be named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.” Or, in more recent times… Person of the Year.
What Time is after, as it self-proclaims, is that singular human who has “… for better or for worse… done the most to influence the events of the year.”
Colin Kaepernick is being talked up as the guy who might be thus-deified by Time this go around and perhaps he is appropriate. Kaepernick is protesting something nobody supports. Something, in fact which all civilized people are opposed to. He is a football player who didn’t run a play last season but made a lot of noise doing the social justice dance.
He is, in other words… perfect.
Colin Kaepernick is a football player — a professional quarterback — who did not play a down this year. But he is famous… for “taking a knee.”
In protest, of course.
The genesis of this protest was the killings, by police in different jurisdictions, of young black men.
Which, needless to say, nobody supports.
But that is what protest has come to these days: fearless and risk-free opposition to something every civilized person is opposed to. Still… give Kaepernick some slack. Say he is making an honest statement and taking a chance by doing it. There are, after all, people in the know who say that he might have played for millions for some team instead of fulfilling a lousy six figure book contract while he sits on the sidelines.
On the other hand… he is a young man, rich beyond his dreams and he gets paid lavishly, when he works, for playing a game that almost any American man would play for free… injury risk notwithstanding.
Who wouldn’t want to be a football player? And a quarterback, at that?
And if you could be a quarterback and make millions, then what would inspire you to jeopardize that great good fortune?
Does anyone believe that Kaepernick’s sideline gestures will, in any conceivable way, advance the cause of “social justice?”
Any cop going to say to himself, “Better not throw down on this one? If I do, Kaep might spotlight me.”
Any thug going to say, “Better leave this liquor store alone because I don’t want to disappoint Kaep?”
Conventional wisdom would have it that none could presume to know how best Colin Kaepernick should live his life of good fortune. But here is how many might think:
When blessed with great talents and gifts, then give glory and thanks to God and happiness to other mortals by exercising those gifts to the fullest. Shine your light and then go out and win Super Bowls and leave the surly, malcontent act to those — like Bernie Sanders — to whom it comes naturally and who can, therefore, do it much better.
Go do what it is given, by Grace, for you to do.
Leave it to us to handle the grubby stuff.
We’ll look up to you, in your splendor, on Sundays. And maybe even call you …
Person of the Year.
Geoffrey Norman writes on the NFL every week.