In Re: Kaepernick’s Caper

John has already noted the silliness of Colin Kaepernick’s stunt of refusing to stand for the national anthem, as though everyone who does somehow thinks the United States is perfect. Here’s a practical suggestion: the 49ers should include a small American flag on team helmets. Kaepernick clearly doesn’t need one anyway, since he has very little brain to protect. I’m also guessing there are a lot of NFL defensive linemen who are itching to deliver an especially hard blind-side hit on Kaepernick—that’s if he ever gets to play again, given his fast-deteriorating performance on the field. Maybe he’s angling for a job in the CFL?

More to the point, I’m reminded of something Harry V. Jaffa wrote in a letter to the Wall Street Journal about the boxer Joe Louis:

Gordon Marino, in “Boxing Pay is Featherweight Class” (Leisure & Arts, Dec. 12), writes that “the great Joe Louis, so fleeced by his managers…ended his days scrambling for a living as a greeter in a Las Vegas gambling casino.”

Joe Louis may have been fleeced by his managers, but the catastrophe of his last days had another cause. After the second Billy Conn fight, Louis received a check for $1 million. He endorsed it to the Army-Navy Relief Fund. His signature on the check made it income, and the wartime tax probably amounted to more than half of the whole. He should have had the check made out to the beneficiaries. He was never after able to earn enough to meet his tax liability, with the interest accumulating faster than his income.

The Internal Revenue Service was relentless in pursuing him, and it was this that drove him back into the ring, long past his prime. When he no longer could box, he became a professional wrestler, for which he had no training. On one occasion, his ribs were badly crushed, and his heart damaged. He was in severe pain the rest of his life, and turned to alcohol and drugs for relief. But the IRS was pitiless and never relented.

Why a private bill to relieve him was never introduced into Congress is hard to understand. Joe was a national treasure. He deserved to be honored, not persecuted. On being inducted into the Army he was asked why he was willing to fight for a country that treated “his people” the way colored people were treated then. He replied with these immortal words: “There ain’t nothing wrong with this country that Hitler can fix.”

Harry V. Jaffa

December 27, 2002

Let’s reprise that conclusion with the observation that there’s nothing wrong with his country that Colin Kaepernick is going to fix. Instead of giving offense, maybe he should stick with fixing the 49ers offense.

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