A recent article raised a curious question in regards to the ongoing controversy surrounding a famously outspoken quarterback: “Where Are Colin Kaepernick’s Frat Brothers?” The author also attempted to answer:
“Unfortunately, the Kappas are hiding, too.”
With all due respect to the author, I don’t feel compelled to spend too much time sifting through his actual argument, as it seems that his knowledge of fraternity life is limited to what he watched on A Different World (ironically, his piece appeared on a website founded by a brother of Kappa Alpha Psi).
However, the article did make me examine how I’ve reacted to the trials that Brother Kaepernick has been put through over the last year and examine what I’m willing to do to protect his right to free speech.
I became a member of the Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania on April 13, 2007, two days after my 20th birthday. That decision has affected my life in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. When asked why I wanted to be a Kappa back then, I’d give the standard reply: “I wanted to be a part of a brotherhood that I couldn’t find anywhere else.”
However, the real answer was clear to me as early as December of 2006. As an “interest” (aka someone who wanted to join the fraternity), I was invited to a community service function at the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter’s headquarters. I sat in a room of Black men of all ages, backgrounds and professions who have impacted my hometown and who seemed interested in supporting me not just as a potential fraternity brother, but as a young Black man, and in that moment, I realized just what Kappa Alpha Psi was all about. As much as I believed that I was a perfect Kappa, I knew that Kappa was a perfect fit for me.
I’ve been a Kappa man for just over 10 years now, a milestone that seemed incredibly far away as a young neo, eager to learn the inner workings of the brotherhood. And while I haven’t been financially active in my fraternity over the last couple of years, I’ve always tried to serve our bond as best as I can. I’ve seen many a young brother enter behind me and I’ve had an open, extended hand to anyone who’s interested in my career field, or anything else that I may be able to support them with.
That leads me back to the current events surrounding Brother Kaepernick. Just after I read that farce of an article, I was invited by members of the New York area alumni chapters to attend a rally at the National Football League’s headquarters that took place last week. With no hesitation, I made my way to 52nd Street and Park Avenue along with more than 200 fellow Nupes walking side-by-side in solidarity for our brother.
But the rally did more than give me an outlet to support Kap. I caught up with brothers from my undergrad days that I haven’t seen in years, and met others who have been members for as long as I’ve been alive. Having conversations with them about how Kappa has been active during times of social unrest in decades past helped me understand the importance of our legacy. It brought forth that same feeling of brotherhood that led me toward the diamond in the sky back in 2007, and it made me realize that while my place in Kappa has changed over the years, it’s a bond that I can always return to.
While I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Brother Kaepernick in our travels, I hope that he knows that our fraternity is behind him. Thomas L. Battles, Jr., the current Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi, issued a letter to the National Football League and its commissioner, Roger Goddell, showing that Brother Kaepernick officially has the fraternity’s support and offered to help open a dialog aimed at getting him back on the field.
It’s this dedication to brotherhood and serving in the public interest that has made my membership in this noble klan one of the best decisions of my life, and the events of last week reminded me why I took that pledge.
For the writer who asked the question, “Where are Colin Kaepernick’s frat brothers?” Turn on the news; I’m sure you’ll see us, showing up in solidarity.
Three up top to the good Nupes. Phi V.