23.5% of Truett – McConnell University graduates finish within six years.[i] The rest – don’t finish at all. Truett – McConnell has an excessively high transfer rate and an excessively low graduation rate for four-year bachelor’s degree. In 2013, the traditional graduation rate for the small christian college was only 13%. That means 87% of the young minds that enter the institution are not successful. Time Magazine called the school a drop out factory.[ii]
You would think with graduation rates like that – this small private school in rural Georgia would have stopped wearing Nikes a long time ago to focus on education. But alas, the president of this private institution made an announcement that they would discontinue their relationship with Nike. Sounds like good news for the parents who shell out $27,000 in tuition and fees per year. That extra space in the book store could be used for the books necessary to graduate on time.
In his Facebook post announcing his decision to stop Nike sales on campus, President Canor made it clear he knew that Colin Kaepernick’s protest was an effort to speak out against excessive force by law enforcement. Rather than focus on a point we can all agree on — i.e. bad cops make good cops look bad, the president of this small university decided to jump on the Trump bandwagon of division.
The great American writer James Baldwin said it best, “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” How can one wear a #MAGA hat, which infers America is not great now, yet be upset with Colin Kaepernick for kneeling because he does not believe America has reached it’s greatness for all citizens yet? Why is it #MAGA and self-proclaimed deplorables get to determine which parts of America can be criticized and where such criticism is allowed.
Let us not forget, for months the President has been complaining about the Mueller investigation claiming they have gone too far. Hello —- that is law enforcement using their power and exhibiting more force than necessary according to President Trump. Except when an excessive amount of force is used against common citizens someone may end up dead.
Hopefully, when Americans who have tried to ignore the issue of excessive force get tired of boycotting the NFL, Nike, and Kaepernick they will finally be willing to talk about one of the last brutal vestiges of our history. There is no running from it. You are only delaying the inevitable. Think about it. If people are dying from unlawful use of force do you think people are just going to shrug their shoulders and forget about it?
Let’s spend less time talking how one chooses to bring attention to the issue of excessive force and come together to create real solutions to the issue itself. However, protest is the right of the Truett McConnell University president as it is the right of Colin Kaepernick. I won’t dare tell someone how and when they should protest as that is the exact opposite of the point of a protest. But I am all too happy to point out the inherent hypocrisy in their protest.
I have a word or two for anyone preparing to complain about respect for the veterans and the flag …. WE KNOW! We all know that you know this issue has nothing to do with the flag. We all know that you know the idea to kneel was suggested by a veteran. We all know that you know in America, kneeling has always been the ultimate sign of respect. I am sure at Truett McConnell University they kneel for prayer in church. I’m sure at Truett McConnell University if one of their players, who no longer wear Nike, gets hurt while playing a sport the entire team kneels. We know that this anger at Colin, Nike, and the NFL are all manufactured outrage to avoid addressing an uncomfortable topic. WE KNOW!
We know that you know ….
Some of us will keep bringing up this issue whether you burn your toes off or not. We will continue to fight for Kenneth Chamberlin Sr. the retired Marine who was shot in his home by White Plains police in 2011.[iii] We will continue to kneel for James Erik Washington, the Navy veteran shot by Portland law enforcement in June of this year.[iv][v][vi][vii][viii][ix] Because if it is truly about respecting veterans then let’s respect ALL veterans as they are dying at the hands of excessive force as well.
Some of us will continue to annoy you with kneeling, fist in the air, and nonstop talking about this issue in support of those GREAT cops whose jobs are made harder because of those few bad cops out there. Someone reading this is going to say, “why not focus on crime in Chicago?” The answer is simple, for the same reason the president of Truett McConnell is not focusing on his graduation rate instead of his team apparel.
P.S. If you are discussing Nike, burning Ford Trucks, or otherwise outwardly boycotting anything else that supports Colin YOU ARE DOING EXACTLY WHAT THE KNEELING WAS INTENDED TO MAKE YOU DO! You are keeping the discussion alive long enough for those of us who care to pressure our local governments into fixing this longstanding issue. Each time one of you complain about Nike you give someone like me the chance to remind you this is about excessive force.
Kneel with me people and say out loud the names of the veterans who died at the hands of law enforcement – let us stop dividing and rather combine our concerns for them. John Wrana, Richard Black, Anthony Hill, Elliot Williams, Jason Erik Washington, Arminder Singh Shergill …. and many more not included.