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What Had Happened Was: 8/31/16

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Former New England Patriots safety and current NBC analyst Rodney Harrison decided he was going to comment on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem.

Harrison said that Kaepernick had no right to speak for the ills affecting black people and people of color in the United States … because Kaepernick isn’t black. (Note: Kaepernick was adopted by a white family, but one of his biological parents is black, thus making him black.) And because Harrison didn’t know that Kaepernick is black, he took it a step further, saying he couldn’t possibly understand what it feels like to be a black man in America.

We could show you a number of great responses to Harrison sticking his foot in his mouth, but this one particular response really drove the point home:

ESPN’s own Sage Steele had this to offer:




Huge salute today to Florida State University football player Travis Rudolph:


On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.

While New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo hasn’t spoken about his kicker’s 20-plus domestic violence incidents, he did offer his thoughts on Kaepernick’s protest.

Before Kaepernick, Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson said he could not sing the nation anthem or salute the flag.

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called Kaepernick’s national anthem protest “highly patriotic.”

Kaepernick’s comparison of police training to cosmetology training is factually correct.


Every morning we’ll hit you here with the best of what we saw on social media the previous night. Why? Why not?





Our brother Martenzie Johnson dove into the history of the national anthem — what it really stands for, who wrote it and who was that person after all?

Francis Scott Key was born in 1779 on a Frederick County, Maryland, plantation to upper-class parents who benefited greatly from chattel slavery. He eventually studied law in the state’s capital and became a prominent lawyer in Washington, D.C., in the early 1800s….The War of 1812 was caused, among other things, by Great Britain’s attempt to restrict U.S. trade and America’s desire to expand its northern territory by annexing Canada. By 1810, more than 15 percent of the U.S. population was enslaved, and British forces recruited escaped slaves to fight for the slaves’ freedom against the American militia. This unit, referred to as the Colonial Marines, was part of the British forces that overran Washington, D.C., in 1814 and set fire to the White House. So when Key references the “foul footstep’s” of the “hireling and slave” who “no refuge could save” from “the gloom of the grave” in the third verse, he’s referring to the killing of Colonial Marines. As noted by The Root political editor Jason Johnson, “The Star-Spangled Banner is as much a patriotic song as it is a diss track to black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom.”…The Star-Spangled Banner wasn’t written for people like Kaepernick. The song was penned by a slave-owning lawyer who spent a lifetime fighting against the rights of African-Americans. But whether Kaepernick knows it or not, his stance alludes to a different national anthem — a “chast’ning rod” won’t stop him from standing up for what’s right.



Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.

Ryan Cortes is a staff writer for The Undefeated. Lemon pepper his wings.