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Reflections


Liberty via Tyranny?

by Ralph R. Reiland,
Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University
 

As a follow-up to his original refusal to stand during the national anthem at a 49ers’ preseason game on August 14, 2016, San Francisco’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick wore a shirt to a news conference depicting scenes from a 1960 meeting between Fidel Castro and Malcolm X, displaying the phrase “Like minds think alike.”

Wrote Miami Herald sports columnist Greg Cote at the time, “Short of lighting a match and torching the American flag in downtown San Francisco, there isn’t much the 49ers’ star could be doing to draw more attention to his protest over racial inequality.”

Kaepernick was seeking to put a spotlight on inequality and the shooting of blacks by police.

If, in fact, it’s the inequality in the distribution of wealth and income in the U.S. that had Kaepernick sitting and knelling during the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a quick look at his pay stub might have indicated to him that he may have an obvious obligation to do some redistribution and income leveling of his own.

“After leading the San Francisco 49ers to consecutive NFC championship games and one Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick was rewarded with a ‘record’ seven-year, $126 million contract," reported Business Insider in December 2014, “But after Kaepernick's nightmare season we are already seeing that the contract is not nearly as big as everybody made it out to be, and he could receive as little as $25.9 million.” Performance matters, as well as the proficiency and farsightedness of the team’s contract lawyers.

Either way, whether it’s $126 million or $25.9 million, it vastly surpasses the median earnings of U.S. workers, reported by the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics as $865 per week for all full‐time wage and salary workers in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2017, or $44,980 annually counting all wages, salaries, interest and investment income, and other earning sources.,

Similarly, compensation at $126 million or $25.9 million, irrespective of Castro-admiring shirts, substantially beats the state-controlled salaries of the top ball players in Cuba. The highest level players in Cuba, overall, receive 0.5 percent of U.S. Major League salaries due to Castro’s leveling mandates, forced egalitarianism, and compensation ceilings.

“If the defectors” from Cuba “could form a team, they would have every chance of winning a world title,” reported the UK’s Guardian in 2014, referring to the centrally imposed socialist “pay ceilings for players’ salaries, which are little different from those of construction site workers, bus drivers or librarians.”

Continued the Guardian report, "More than 20 players have deserted Cuba in the past four years to pursue Major League millions in the U.S.”

With the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Miami Dolphins in November 2016, “Kaepernick engaged in a conference call with members of the South Florida media,” reported The Washington Post.” A Cuba-born Miami sports columnist asked about the shirt Kaepernick wore that appeared to show support for Fidel Castro.

Explained Kaepernick: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or a country that oppresses black people and people of color.

He doesn’t seem to comprehend how the Castro dictatorship oppressed people in Cuba of every color and hue.

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Ralph R. Reiland is Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.


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