Different Strokes for Different
Different strokes for different strokes was an idiom that some of my friends and I used while growing up in Racine, Wisconsin. Of course, it
means different things to different people depending on how you interpret. In the 1968 Sly & the Family Stone song, “Everyday People,” Sly
wrote the song in order to make a plea to increase the peace between different races and social groups. The song was very popular at the time
and is credited with being the first single to hit number on the soul singles chart as well as the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. For me, this was
an idiom that was used frequently, especially when I would see two different people do essentially the same thing, but the outcome for one
would be different than the outcome for another. The difference would often come down to race.
In 1968, I was nine years old, but was very conscious about all of the social unrest that was taking place in the nation during that time. It was a
tumultuous period for our country. In that year, both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy were struck down by assassins bullets. We
also had violence between Chicago Police and protests against the Vietnam War during the Democratic National Convention. And who could
forget the Olympics that year when the two African American track and field athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the podium and
raised their fists in solidarity to protest the racial and social injustices taking place in America during that era in our nation’s history.
Let’s just take the current situation occurring with Colin Kaepernick. He has yet to be signed with an NFL team. While some are saying it is
because of his performance on the field, most people know that it has more to with his stand against police brutality and social injustices. As
far as we know, Kapernick has never cheated or broken any league rules. Unlike his counterpart in New England, who has been caught not
once, but twice in direct violation of NFL rules, firs, with Spy Gate in 2007 and then Deflate Gate in 2015. For the latter, Brady received a slap
on the wrist and a four game suspension while Kapernick cannot find a job because he chose to exercise the rights afforded to him under the
Constitution and is now being punished.
The NFL is hypocritical when it allows players that are rapists, murderers, batterers of women and just plain cheaters of the game can go
virtually for unpunished violating league rules. Which begs the question, “What would happen if Brady decided to kneel during the National
Anthem? Would he be banned from the league for doing so?” I think not. The response would be, “What a great humanitarian Tom is.” But
because it is Kaepernick taking a stand, it is perceived differently. Again, different strokes for different folks. Brady has gone on record as
saying that while he chooses to stand for the National Anthem, he respects the rights of those that choose not to. Good for him.
Make no mistake about it; the sole reason that Kaepernick doesn’t have a job right now is that he has chosen to take a stand (knee) against
social injustices in America. It has nothing to do with his abilities on the field. Recently, Green Bay Packer quarterback, Aaron Rogers has
come out in support of Kaepernick by saying that he should be signed and that the reason he has not been signed has nothing to do with his
play on the field, but his stand off the field. For this reason, I have made the decision to boycott the NFL until such time as Kaepernick is
signed. And while I am ready for some youth, high school and college football, I will not be tuning into any NFL games this season.