Before Kaepernick started protesting and growing his hair out, I was under the impression that he was a darker-skinned white man. I certainly didn’t care about him or his opinions. I just remembered the one time he was in the Super Bowl, and I pretended to care so I didn’t have to go to bed early on a Sunday when no one in my family did.
After Kaepernick started protesting and growing his hair out, I claimed him as the love of my life. I haven’t been the same person since I saw him with an afro. I did my personal version of research. I was deeply surprised after I scrolled down his Twitter from the last few years and saw all his tweets about social justice and police brutality.
Before Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, I wasn’t watching games regularly. I watched them sporadically, and I knew just enough information to call myself a Giants fan and live in a Giants household. I would come to school equipped with the scores and knew the names of the players, so I could market myself as a football fan. I could wear jerseys to school for themed days and wear Giants T-shirts my parents bought me. I liked sitting with my family and watching games until I fell asleep.
After the NFL blackballed Colin Kaepernick out of a job, I took to boycotting the NFL and encouraged people to do the same. If I saw my father watching the NFL, my brother and I would remind him that we really shouldn’t support the league. We’d give him all the reasons it’s morally wrong for Black people to watch, if not everyone else. We’d tell him that Kap was just defending marginalized citizens, and now he can’t do what he loves when all he did was kneel. My dad would pretend to disagree with our arguments to show he can do what he wants. We’d come into our living room wielding a lot of new-age ideas that he would pretend to not support and later flip to some rerun of Family Feud.
“Unfair” is the mildest word I could use to describe how the NFL treated Kap after he started kneeling. It was one of the most dramatic overreactions to any act I have ever seen. I did not expect so many people to be angry that he was kneeling or to pretend to care about the national anthem. I certainly did not expect him not to be resigned by any team in the NFL the following season. There are so many mediocre NFL players riding benches, but they stand for the anthem — even though they know that the freedoms it’s supposed to represent are not true for everyone living in this country.
However, I still watched this year’s Super Bowl. I didn’t want to live a life in which my support for Colin Kaepernick comes in the way of my love for the Super Bowl. I am not a perfect person by any means. My moral code is not fickle, but it is certainly not strong enough for me to miss the game, the halftime show or the commercials. I try to be as opposed to the NFL and capitalism as possible, but I love the Super Bowl commercials. Furthermore, I hate the Eagles, but I hate the Patriots and Tom Brady even more.
I hoped both teams could lose the Super Bowl. I secretly hoped this was all a joke and the Giants (or even the Buffalo Bills) actually made it to championship game. But this Super Bowl surpassed all my expectations. I wanted to see Tom Brady lose, and he did. He openly supports Donald Trump and he wears ugly man Uggs. He always deserves to lose.