Dear Colin Kaepernick…

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Hopefully you’re familiar with the Tyra Banks meme of her yelling, “I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you,” right? Well, I was rooting for you and I had plenty of friends who were on your side.

You stood up for those who do not have a voice. You stood up for those who do not have the same type of platform you have — a platform only given to those lucky enough to make it to the NFL. You kneeled during the national anthem, because you don’t agree on what it stands for.

“There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this countryand people don’t like to address that and they don’t like to address what the root of this protest is,” you said earlier this year.

Kaepernick, you encouraged so many others on your level and even on the high school level to follow suit, all the while facing relentless criticsm that you handled well.

Banks closes out that scene on America’s Next Top Model by saying, “How dare you!” And, well, how dare you, Kaepernick.

Yes, that meme is a joke, that’s what memes are, but it has never been more applicable to me than now, because for some reason, you had the audacity to not vote in the 2016 election.

Did you know that people would find out? Did you even care?

You didn’t have to vote for Hillary Clinton. Fine, I’ll give you that, and clearly a lot of people were not on her side, emails and all. I sure as hell hope you wouldn’t have voted for Donald Trump, someone who has said hurtful things about not only your race and community, but pretty much everyone who is not a straight white male. But the fact of the matter is, you didn’t even vote.

You didn’t vote for any of the third party candidates. You didn’t even go write in Harambe as a joke. You didn’t do anything and yet you have been calling on this country to make a change.

What’s even more gut-wrenching is that you were not alone.

Maybe you thought enough people would show up to the polls. Maybe you figured the rest of the people voting for Clinton, or just in general against Trump, would get the job done. Clearly you and the rest of Americans who didn’t vote were wrong.

Most websites will show you that more than 40 percent of Americans who were eligible to vote decided to forego filling in a ballot and that number has been dropping since the 2008 election.

In 2008, 61.6 percent of eligible voters did cast their vote. Then in 2012, numbers dropped to 58.6 percent. This election cycle, only about 57 percent of eligible voters submitted a ballot and those numbers are discouraging.

I don’t have the numbers for this year’s election, but 66.2 percent of African Americans voted in 2012. It was the first time since the Census Bureau started keeping track of these numbers in 1996 where they had a higher turnout rate than whites. If it’s not the same again this year, well that’s a damn shame.

Compared to 2012 where 87 percent of black voters voted for President Barack Obama, just 80 percent voted in favor of Clinton this election year.

I know some of those uncast votes would have gone in favor of Trump, but it’s a big enough group of people that could have made a difference one way or another.

Kaepernick, voting is a privilege we are granted in this country and you have taken that for granted. You aided a man to become president who had this to say about you: “Maybe [Kaepernick] should find a country that works better for him.”

I realize that your single vote probably wouldn’t have made a difference. Trump would have still been elected president no matter your effort to fill in a ballot. But you didn’t even try and that’s the sad part.

I wasn’t your biggest fan before any of this happened. I liked Alex Smith starting for the San Francisco 49ers (yes, I’m going to be a little bit of a homer in that regard) and I was bitter that because of you he had to find another team. I didn’t like that you wore a Miami Dolphins hat (yes, I’m always going to bring that up), because you play for the San Francisco 49ers.

I loved that you stood, or rather kneeled, for something you believed in. But I hate that you didn’t vote, and because of it I cannot respect you.

Since you didn’t care enough to vote, you shouldn’t be complaining.

Sincerely,

A disappointed sports fan and American citizen.

k.brenneisen@dailyutahchronicle.com

@kbrenneisen

Kim Brenneisen
Kim Brenneisen is currently serving as the print managing editor for The Daily Utah Chronicle, but she has been on staff for three years in a variety of roles. She interned for ESPN this past summer, was a student writer for the NCAA and interned at MLB.com in 2016.

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