CNN's Marc Lamont Hill Defends 'Principled' QB Who Protested Anthem

CNN's Marc Lamont Hill sided with Colin Kaepernick on Monday's New Day, after the NFL quarterback used the national anthem to protest the apparent oppression of blacks in the U.S.: "When black people...critique America, a certain label gets put on that doesn't get put on other people. When Trump says, I wants to make America great again, he doesn't get accused of saying he hates America." Hill also played up how the anthem was written before the abolition of slavery, and derided criticism of Kaepernick as "another example of white people defining for black people what's most important." [video below]

Hill and regular conservative guest Ben Ferguson sparred over the sit-down protest during a panel discussion at the 6 am Eastern hour. Anchor Chris Cuomo first turned to Ferguson for his take on the issue. The talk radio host underlined, in part, the "issue of hypocrisy. He didn't stand up against anybody in the NFL when there were many people that were abusing minorities and African-American women....And he had a microphone for that....But all of a sudden he says, oh, America is a terrible place. Look at his own life — what an incredible American story! Adopted; comes out from a tough situation...ends up making it to the NFL."

Cuomo continued by pointing out that Hill "agreed with Colin Kaepernick sitting during the anthem." The Morehouse College professor emphasized that "Colin Kaepernick never said America is a terrible country. What he said is that he has critiques of America." The CNN host retorted, "It sounds like a generous explanation. He said this flag doesn't represent what it's supposed to. He outlined the condition of — going on with policing in black communities. He said, I'm not going to stand until it does. That seems negative."

Hill then gave his argument about the supposed double standard when African Americans criticize the state of America:

MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, BET NEWS: It seems critical. What I'm saying is, oftentimes, when black people resist or critique America, a certain label gets put on that doesn't get put on other people. When Trump says, I wants to make America great again, he doesn't get accused of saying he hates America. During the 80s...when you had people on the right who say America is going in the wrong direction; you had the Tea Party who's saying America, fiscally, is going in the wrong direction — no one accuses them of not liking America....They simply have a critique of it. His particular way of critiquing America is to sit down. That's his particular form of resistance. And I think that it is a principled one. I think it's not offending anyone.

Tell the Truth 2016

The liberal guest added that "for some people, the national anthem is a way of saying we're getting better; we're trying. But oftentimes, for African-American people, that hasn't been the case. Since the history of the song...'the land of the free, the home of the brave'...created in the midst of slavery...there's a long tradition of black people resisting some of the symbols that white people believe are symbols of freedom."

Later in the segment, Cuomo raised one "legitimate" criticism of Kaepernick — that "he chose now to come forward, when there were things much closer to home, in terms of what he represents as a professional." Hill countered that "he's also a black person." The anchor replied, "So are the people who were doing lots of abusive things in that league — that he could have spoke out about, and he didn't."

The BET host shot back, "I agree with you; but again, to decide what's closer to home to him is often another example of white people defining for black people what's most important." He added, "For many black people, you are also threatened by state violence. Before he puts on his pads; before he puts on his uniform — he has brothers, cousins, and himself — he is also a threat to many people. So for him, that might be closer to home than what happens in the NFL — although, that is a critical issue."

Moments later, Hill also underlined that "to the extent that America has corrected its wrongs, it has done so because people have resisted; because people have sat down; because people like Muhammad Ali, who we just celebrated two months ago for doing these very same things — although, back then, we called him anti-American. Because of people like that, that's how America corrects its wrongs — by resistance."

The full transcript of the Ben Ferguson/Marc Lamont Hill segment from the August 29, 2016 edition of CNN's New Day:

CHRIS CUOMO: (clip of Colin Kaepernick) And now, he has a problem. That's San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, defending protests of the oppression of black in this country. He sat during the national anthem before his pre-season game. His actions sparked a lot of anger; and we're going to continue a debate about this issue. Let's discuss. We have CNN political commentator; host of BET News; and author of 'Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond;' Marc Lamont Hill. And CNN political commentator and host of the 'Ben Ferguson Show,' Ben Ferguson.

Ben, let me start with you. We hear about a lot of protests in this country from people who are upset about a lot of issues — specifically, the idea of policing in poor or African-American communities. He does this — outrage from a lot of different sectors of the sporting world and America — burning his jersey after this. Why?

[CNN Graphic: "San Francisco Quarterback Says His Protest Is Against Racism"]

BEN FERGUSON, HOST, THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW: Well, one: even his own colleagues are saying that they have a problem with this, because the national anthem is something you stand for — for what is right with this country and in a continually-evolving country — and you're standing to honor that we're always trying to become a better nation. And what he did was, I think, really an issue of hypocrisy. He didn't stand up against anybody in the NFL when there were many people that were abusing minorities and African-American women. He didn't stand up and call out players when they beat their wives on hotel videos; and the NFL reinstated them. He didn't call out the NFL for their hypocrisy — standing up and saying they stand up for women; when, in fact, the players in their league are able to come back after abusing minority women.

So this is an opportunity for him: if he wanted to be consistent, he should have been consistent and actually fought within the NFL to have a culture of change there for these athletes that are paid an incredible amount of money that had done these things. And he had a microphone for that. He didn't do it. But all of a sudden he says, oh, America is a terrible place.

Look at his own life — what an incredible American story! Adopted; comes out from a tough situation; has parents that don't care about the color of their skin or society — what they may think about them adopting someone who's biracial — ends up making it to the NFL. This is a story that should be celebrated about what's right with America; and that's why you stand. Instead, he says, I don't like America. Well, if you don't like it so much, why are you playing in the National Football League — America's game?

CUOMO: You said, over the weekend, that you agreed with Colin Kaepernick sitting during the anthem. Why?

MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, BET NEWS: Well, just a couple things: one, I didn't hear him say that America is a terrible country; so, I don't — that become, like, a straw man. Colin Kaepernick never said America is a terrible country. (Ferguson laughs) What he said is that he has critiques of America. And we can laugh, but it doesn't change the fact he never said that. So I just want to (unintelligible)—

CUOMO: But it does seem like a very generous — it sounds like a—

FERGUSON: I think when you say the national anthem—

CUOMO: I got you, Ben. It sounds like a generous explanation. He said this flag doesn't represent what it's supposed to. He outlined the condition of — going on with policing in black communities. He said, I'm not going to stand until it does. That seems negative.

[CNN Graphic: "QB: Won't Show Pride For Country That Oppresses Black People"]

HILL: It seems critical. What I'm saying is, oftentimes, when black people resist or critique America, a certain label gets put on that doesn't get put on other people. When Trump says, I wants to make America great again, he doesn't get accused of saying he hates America. During the 80s, when you had the — the Moral Majority — when you had people on the right who say America is going in the wrong direction; you had the Tea Party who's saying America, fiscally, is going in the wrong direction — no one accuses them of not liking America—

FERGUSON: They all stand during the national anthem—

HILL: Ben, let me finish. I didn't interrupt you one time. None — none of those people get accused of hating America or having a problem with America or thinking America is terrible. They simply have a critique of it. His particular way of critiquing America is to sit down. That's his particular form of resistance. And I think that it is a principled one. I think it's not offending anyone.

It's also not true to say that all of his teammates disagree with him. Many of his teammates who I've spoken to, and who also — some of — some of which have been on the public record, have said they actually do agree with him. They stand in solidarity with him. And yes, for some people, the national anthem is a way of saying we're getting better; we're trying. But oftentimes, for African-American people, that hasn't been the case. Since the history of the song — the song itself — 'the land of the free, the home of the brave' — is created in the midst of slavery — right? I mean, there's a — there's a long tradition of black people resisting some of the symbols—

FERGUSON: And yet—

HILL: That white people believe are symbols of freedom.

FERGUSON: Chris—

CUOMO: Yeah. Ben—

FERGUSON: And yet — and yet, we corrected it. And this is the point that I think is being lost. First, I didn't say that everyone in the NFL doesn't like what he's doing; but there's an awful lot of players that have come out and made it clear that America has evolved in a pretty incredible way. He's a personal story of how incredible the change has been in this country.

The second part is this: in politics, you have many people that protest. You have many people that go out and protest, but they all seem to stand during the national anthem because they all understand that in a country — find another country that has corrected their wrongs in such an incredible way like this country has. Find a country where you can do the things that Colin Kaepernick is describing — that Blacks Lives Matter is doing, that any protester is doing — where you and I can have this conversation and it not be limited by a government, or either of us be shut up by political power. That is what true freedom is. That's what the national anthem is about. And most importantly, I find the hypocrisy here in Colin Kaepernick for the fact he's never once come out and criticized any player in the NFL that's gone after a minority—

CUOMO: Right. No, we — I get you on that point, Ben. I get you on that. He has a couple problems right now — this young man. One is a legitimate one — which is, he chose now to come forward, when there were things much closer to home, in terms of what he represents as a professional, where—

HILL: Why is that closer to home? I don't understand.

FERGUSON: Because if you're—

CUOMO: Because he is playing for the — the NFL; he's high-profile—

HILL: But he's also a black person—

CUOMO: No, no. I know—

HILL: No, no, no; but no. This is my point, Chris: again, white people—

CUOMO: So are the — so are the people who were doing lots of abusive things in that league — that he could have spoke out about, and he didn't.

HILL: I agree with you; but again, to decide what's closer to home to him is often another example of white people defining for black people what's most important—

FERGUSON: No, it's not—

CUOMO: Okay. Yeah, Ben — Ben, let Mark finish—

HILL: Let me finish the point — let me — let me make the point before you disagree with it. What I'm saying is that, for many black people, walking down the street, you're a threat — right? For many black people, you are also threatened by state violence. Before he puts on his pads; before he puts on his uniform — he has brothers, cousins, and himself — he is also a threat to many people. So for him, that might be closer to home than what happens in the NFL — although, that is a critical issue. Also, I think it's a little bit unreasonable to say, if you haven't critiqued this now, then you can never critique anything again. By that logic—

CUOMO: Before, you mean — if you didn't do anything before—

HILL: Exactly. By that logic, he can now never critique anything in his life again because he didn't critique something that he should have before—

FERGUSON: No — not true — not true. Marc, Marc—

HILL: And one more point — let me just make one more point — that you made — that you said — because I disagree with it. I disagree with something else you said. He also said—

FERGUSON: You and I obviously disagree. But let me go back to the point—

CUOMO: Hold on. Let me see — hear what he disagrees with; and I'll ask you — I'll give you the last word—

HILL: He also said America has corrected its wrongs. To the extent that he's right — and I don't think he's entirely right — but to the extent that America has corrected its wrongs, it has done so because people have resisted; because people have sat down; because people like Muhammad Ali, who we just celebrated two months ago for doing these very same things — although, back then, we called him anti-American. Because of people like that, that's how America corrects its wrongs — by resistance. We thought Martin Luther King was anti-American. We thought Malcolm X was anti-American. We've called a whole bunch of folk anti-American 'til they died. So, I'm here to celebrate Colin Kaepernick now.

CUOMO: Ben, final word.

FERGUSON: I'm not — I'm not going to celebrate a guy that sits on the sideline while making hundreds of millions of dollars — because of men and women of all races and colors that have fought for the freedom to be able to play a game in America for an incredible amount of money. I'm not going to celebrate Colin Kaepernick because the guy, I think, is a fraud. If you can — if he truly believes this much in change, then why won't you put your career on the line and criticize the NFL for players that have gone after minorities in the same way that he claims is happening every day in the streets of America?

He's never had the guts to do that, because it would have cost him a paycheck. There are people in the league that would have listened to him as a player; who, if he would have come out and said, I'm ashamed to take the field with people that commit these types of crimes against minorities and African-American women; who cannot defend themselves against guys like us that are huge and in incredible shape; and I'm embarrassed to take the field with them. I would have more respect for him today. But I this is a situation where he says — you know what? I can sit on the sideline, and there's no repercussions for me financially. But if I said something about the NFL and the players I play with that do the same things I'm saying are happening in the streets of America, I might lose a paycheck. And that's why I think it's — it's hypocrisy. And I have no respect for him.

HILL: I think he may lose a paycheck now. (Cuomo laughs) This ain't easy!

FERGUSON: I hope he does—

CUOMO: That's true—

HILL: I think he's catching some hell right now.

CUOMO: All right. Ben, Marc, thank you very much for spelling out both sides of this — appreciate it.

NB Daily Labeling Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism Sports CNN New Day Video Ben Ferguson Chris Cuomo Marc Lamont Hill
Matthew Balan's picture


Sponsored Links