As a follow-up to his original refusal to stand during the national anthem at a 49ersâ€™ preseason game on August 14, 2016, San Franciscoâ€™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 â€œLike minds think alike.â€
Wrote Miami Herald sports columnist Greg Cote at the time, â€œShort of lighting a match and torching the American flag in downtown San Francisco, there isnâ€™t much the 49ersâ€™ star could be doing to draw more attention to his protest over racial inequality.â€
Kaepernick was seeking to put a spotlight on inequality and the shooting of blacks by police.
If, in fact, itâ€™s the inequality in the distribution of wealth and income in the U.S. that had Kaepernick sitting and knelling during the â€œThe Star-Spangled Banner,â€ 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.
â€œAfter leading the San Francisco 49ers to consecutive NFC championship games and one Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick was rewarded with a â€˜recordâ€™ seven-year, $126 million contract," reported Business Insider in December 2014, â€œBut 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.â€ Performance matters, as well as the proficiency and farsightedness of the teamâ€™s contract lawyers.
Either way, whether itâ€™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 fullâ€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 Castroâ€™s leveling mandates, forced egalitarianism, and compensation ceilings.
â€œIf the defectorsâ€ from Cuba â€œcould form a team, they would have every chance of winning a world title,â€ reported the UKâ€™s Guardian in 2014, referring to the centrally imposed socialist â€œpay ceilings for playersâ€™ salaries, which are little different from those of construction site workers, bus drivers or librarians.â€
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.â€
With the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Miami Dolphins in November 2016, â€œKaepernick engaged in a conference call with members of the South Florida media,â€ reported The Washington Post.â€ A Cuba-born Miami sports columnist asked about the shirt Kaepernick wore that appeared to show support for Fidel Castro.
Explained Kaepernick: â€œI am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or a country that oppresses black people and people of color.
He doesnâ€™t seem to comprehend how the Castro dictatorship oppressed people in Cuba of every color and hue.
Ralph R. Reiland is Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.