If you google Austin Pistulka, you will find a couple of interesting things. You'll find a horrible photo of me from when I got a bad haircut, you'll find an old Upwork account where I tried to freelance for a while, and you'll find articles that I wrote. There's one blog post that, while hard to find, is one that I'm not so proud of.
When I was at the journalism college at Nebraska, we had to have a Tumblr blog that could be about anything. One of my posts was a short thought on Colin Kaepernick. I remember when I wrote it, I was angry about his protest because he said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”
I would write about how he was wrong about his views on the flag. The flag doesn't represent that! It represents the ideal America even if America was far from ideal. The biggest mistake in my old blog post was this. I said, "Sitting down is a turning away from America instead of standing for what’s right. That is why we call it standing for what’s right, not sitting for what is right."
After all that has transpired from this weekend, the protests, riots, and the messages that have been shared, I get it now. I was wrong to think that Kaepernick was being disrespectful. He was holding America to the standard that I thought I was holding it to. Instead I was turning a blind eye to the reality of the situation. Racism is very real and I hate to admit that.
There have been times where I have degraded Kaepernick when it came to his returns to the NFL saying things like, "He doesn't want to be in the NFL. He just misses that platform." I tried to make his argument small, when I was the one being small.
We all have to strive to be better. America was founded on the idea that we are all created equal and we have to start acting like we truly believe it.
Thank you to the protesters. Thank you to those who have opened my eyes to how sheltered and closed off I once was.
Thank you Colin Kaepernick.