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This item isn’t about the possibility of Colin Kaepernick returning to the NFL. He won’t be. The NFL and its teams successfully have run out the clock in that regard; his shunning has lasted long enough that it now makes no sense at all for anyone to give him a chance to return to the league.
But Kaepernick has relevance the morning after the guilty verdict entered against Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Kaepernick has relevance because the point he made in August 2016 should be heard and heeded.
“There is police brutality,” Kaepernick said days after he was first spotted sitting during the national anthem. “People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it. And they’re government officials. They’re put in place by the government so that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable, make those standards higher.
“You have people that practice law and our lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.”
He was right, at least as it relates to California. Police officers there must attend (either before being hired or upon hire) an 888-hour Basic Police Academy, which requires roughly six months to complete. Cosmetologists in California have a 1,600-hour training requirement before they can even take the test required to secure a license.
Licensed police officers carry a license to kill. And while the Chauvin verdict shows that there can and will be accountability, it can’t undo the damage done when someone accidentally or deliberately misuses his or her tools and takes the life of a citizen who didn’t deserve to die.
Apart from the various forms and fashions of systemic racism that still deprive so many of the rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the barrier to having a license to kill should be higher. The educational requirements should be more demanding. The policing of the police by the police should be more exacting.
Maybe those jobs in law enforcement also should be more financially rewarding. That would attract a broader pool of applicants, making it easier to turn away anyone who at any time shows any reason to not be trusted with a license to kill, reserving those powers only to those who meet standards that should apply to a profession that should be far better suited to weeding out those who would behave unprofessionally, or worse.
Derek Chauvin verdict in George Floyd case underscores Colin Kaepernick’s point originally appeared on Pro Football Talk