MURRELL COLUMN: Nothing’s worth protesting without a voice

Published 5:41 pm Thursday, November 10, 2016

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was right about one thing Wednesday: It didn’t matter who won the election.

The fight for the White House is different from the fight every individual faces every day: to educate and advance our lives and let no one infringe on our dignity. To live in fear that any president would do as much in the 21st century is to already lose that fight, bad rhetoric or not.

To not make your voice heard and vote is to let others decide the course for you. That makes the second fight a lot tougher.

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Kaepernick, to a low degree a role model as a professional football player, has no moral right to protest anything anymore. (He still has a legal right, to be clear.) He reportedly showed no faith that electing either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would change a system that, in his own words, “oppresses people of color.”

“I’ve been very disconnected from the systematic oppression as a whole,” Kaepernick said on “So, for me, it’s another face that’s going to be the face of that system of oppression.”

Another face, huh? Barack Obama, how could you?

Kaepernick’s words, not to mention his heartless decision to not vote, lead me back to the point about two different fights. LeBron James, in all his basketball fame, helped to lead the push to vote, backing up his social fame.

Where was Colin in that fight? Nowhere. Where’s the protest in that?

While I would hope any president condemn all threats against one’s safety under his umbrella, I can say my voice started with a vote. I took action in the booth, and I take action to represent the values that led me to that vote.

Hopefully, that young buck in San Francisco will take a hint from New York Jets receiver Brandon Marshall and understand whatever system governs us is just as flawed as every citizen, regardless of race.

To be clear, Marshall said he hopes Trump does a good job.

I do, too. He’s the president-elect. I also appreciate Obama’s service to America.

Now, whoever governs Nick Saban’s world, I don’t know. He might not know, either.

The Alabama football coach reportedly didn’t know Tuesday was Election Day. So haunting that his daily approach to a sport his team dominates, no less, hindered his view on an important process in American life.

While it’s still unclear whether Saban voted, quoted him saying: “… I want what’s best for people who want to improve the quality of their life, and I hope whoever our leader is will certainly do all that he can to make our country safe and improve the quality of life of a lot of people in our country — and I don’t think I’m qualified to determine who that should be.”

Well, Nick, let’s hope your five national championships (four at Alabama) didn’t affect your qualification to vote. It’s not like any of your championships will raise the minimum wage or retrain potentially bad cops in escalated situations.

You and every big-name athlete and coach have a big voice for a lot of reasons. Make it count every election.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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