Rodney Harrison on Colin Kaepernick: He is not black
Like many others, former NFL safety and current analyst Rodney Harrison does not agree with Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest the national anthem. Harrison’s reasoning, however, has already rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
During an interview with “The Proper Gentlemen of Sports” on iHeartRadio Tuesday morning, Harrison said Kaepernick — who is biracial — does not understand what “real” black people are going through.
“I’m a black man,” Harrison said. “Colin Kaepernick, he’s not black. He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face. When you walk into a grocery store and you might have $2,000 or $3,000 in your pocket, or you go into a Foot Locker and they look at you like you’re about to steal something. I don’t think he faces those types of things that we face on a daily basis.”
Harrison didn’t specify why he believes Kaepernick has no personal experience with racism. Kaepernick was adopted at birth by a white man and woman, but he would be considered a person of color as someone who has a biologically black father. When asked why he feels someone needs to be black to take the stand Kaepernick is taking, Harrison did not back down.
“I’m not saying he has to be black,” he said. “His heart is in the right place but, even with what he’s doing, he still doesn’t understand the injustices we face as black men or people of color.”
Again, we have no idea why Harrison believes he has faced more social injustices than Kaepernick.
Harrison also questioned the timing of Kaepernick’s message and said he wonders why Kaepernick never brought these issues up when he was making $300,000 per year. The implication was that Kaepernick is only speaking out now because he is already guaranteed his $11 million salary whether he remains with the San Francisco 49ers or is cut.
“If he wants to make a change, he should write a check out of that $11 million salary he’s making and maybe donate it toward a cause for people who are fighting for injustices against people of color,” Harrison added. “Just sitting during the national anthem, you’re offending a lot of people who have sacrificed and died for the freedoms we have right now.”
Kaepernick has clearly sparked a debate and raised awareness, which is what he was trying to do. Plenty of prominent people — including one 49ers legend — have openly disagreed with Kaepernick’s national anthem protest, but Harrison’s thoughts were presumptive and offensive.