Opinion: The Colin Kaepernick spectacle needs to end now

by Peter Heck · Nov 28th, 2020 9:36 am
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Last Updated Dec 6th, 2020 at 10:20 am

I was shocked but absolutely delighted to see CNN air it. They deserve immense praise for doing so.

If you haven't seen radio host and CNN contributor Michael Smerconish absolutely dressing down divisive race-provocateur Colin Kaepernick relative to the former footballer's recent campaign to "free" cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, take the time:

If you don't have the time to watch the full video, let me briefly summarize and do my part to echo and promote what should be national pressure for Kaepernick to come out of his privileged echo chamber and accept Smerconish's challenge of real dialogue.

Last week, the man who has made millions stirring racial anxieties and allying himself with massive corporations that profit mightily from slave labor, decided to use his voice not to promote harmony and unity, but to once again stoke discord.

One would think that a man who has profited so handsomely by turning a blind eye towards the human rights abuses that fund his underwriters would experience at least a modicum of shame before attempting to lecture humanity on matters of "justice." But Colin Kaepernick has proven he is nothing if not shameless.

So at a virtual conference last Monday, the Nike millionaire zoomed in to lend his voice to the cause of freeing Wesley Cook, the former Black Panther who, after shooting white police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 for daring to pull his brother over for a routine traffic stop, changed his name to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Lamenting how long Cook has been in prison, Kaepernick unironically asked, "How many years of his life has (sic) been stolen away from him, his community and his loved ones? Mumia has been in prison longer than I've been alive."

Well, yes, that's true. Because he killed a police officer in cold blood before you were alive and received the due penalty for that crime.

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From there, Kaep dove headlong into a morass of anti-science, fact-denying propaganda that has grossly enveloped Cook's "case" since he successfully transformed himself into a martyr for legions of race-baiters. Kaepernick claimed, among other things, that he was framed by a racist police department for Faulkner's murder.

Frankly, I wish that people had enough common sense to know that a man who proudly dons pig socks to depict police officers doesn't have the temperament or even the desire to engage these kinds of issues with anything remotely resembling good faith. But in our era of superficial social media activism, many don't. So Michael Smerconish decided to drop the hammer:

"So here's the short version based on trial testimony. On December 9, 1981, at about 4 a.m., 25-year-old Daniel Faulkner was executed while making what seemed like a routine traffic stop. Faulkner pulled over the brother of Abu-Jamal, aka Wesley Cook, who was driving his way the wrong way on a one-way street.

Abu-Jamal was then working as a taxi driver. He saw the police stop from across the street. And four eye-witnesses testified at trial as to what happened next. Their testimony portrayed a horrific sequence. Abu-Jamal ran across the street, shot officer Faulkner in the back, and then finally between the eyes. Before that final, fatal shot, officer Faulkner had himself discharged his gun, hitting Abu-Jamal in the stomach. With that bullet, you could say he confirmed the identity of his executioner.

When police arrived, Abu-Jamal was still wearing his shoulder holster. The murder weapon, registered to him, was next to him, on the ground, at the murder scene. He purchased it at a local sporting goods store. Ballistics tests verified that the bullets found in Abu-Jamal's gun were the same caliber, brand, and type as the fatal bullet removed from officer Faulkner's brain.

Both men were taken to a local ER. Faulkner was pronounced dead. Abu-Jamal was heard by witnesses, including a security guard, to say, "I shot the m'fer, and I hope the m'fer dies."

So the case had eyewitnesses, a ballistics match, and a confession. Danny Faulkner left behind a young widow, Maureen, who for 4 decades has stood up to a torrent of lies and misinformation about the case. For reasons that have never made any sense, Abu-Jamal has over the years become the darling of Hollywood activists, rock bands, documentarians, and college students.

Mumia is a former Black Panther, a charismatic character who snowed a lot of people over 40 years with rhetoric that is simply nonsense. And now he seeks to do so with a new generation led, apparently, by Colin Kaepernick.

Whenever I'm educating someone about the case, in addition to what I've just told you, I always like to underscore one fact. Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook – he saw it all. His words to police upon their arrival were, "I ain't got nothin to do with it." And he has never testified on his brother's behalf. Let me say that again. The brother of the man convicted of killing the cop, has himself never taken the stand to tell a different story, and he was there.

In 1982, a multi-racial jury heard the case, they convicted Abu-Jamal, and then sentenced him to death. For a quarter century an endless cycle of Abu-Jamal's appeals made a mockery of the judicial system. His defense team attracted a long list of celebrity, a street was named for him in France, NPR gave him his own radio show, he wrote several books. This all after he was convicted of murdering a cop.

But at home in Philadelphia, Abu-Jamal was never able to cultivate broad community support. People at home know what happened and never bought into the Hollywood lore. In 2011, Abu-Jamal's death sentence was ultimately overturned on a technicality. He's currently serving life without parole. Abu-Jamal will die in jail – a fate more civilized than that which he gave to Danny Faulkner."

Smerconish then directed his final comments directly to Kaepernick personally.

"So thank you Mr. Kaepernick for listening. I should note that you were invited to be on this program. I was told you aren't doing any interviews on the subject. You should know that Maureen Faulkner, police officer Danny Faulkner's widow, would love to talk to you about the case. Will you take that meeting?"

He won't, of course, for the same reason he won't do "any interviews on the subject." This isn't about truth or justice. It never is with Kaepernick despite the absurd pretense to the contrary.

So what should happen?

  1. Colin Kaepernick should be collectively and unequivocally denounced by those of us truly interested in racial healing, peace, and unity.
  2. Walt Disney Company and Nike, both of whom bankroll his hate, should be shamed by every police union, law enforcement agency, and justice related organization in the country until they reconsider.
  3. True social justice champions should repudiate Kaep's radicalism, distance themselves from his conspiracy theories, and restore dignity and credibility to the cause.

Will it happen? The answer to that question will determine the extent of our people's commitment to true social justice.


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