On Nov. 12, former NFL athlete Colin Kaepernick tweeted, “I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for three years, can’t wait to see the coaches and GMs on Saturday.”
Since Kaepernick’s three-year-long protest of racial injustice, specifically, police brutality, it is safe to say that he was blackballed in the NFL for what they thought was a protest of the national anthem. Ultimately, to many, the protest of the national anthem is a protest against veterans and a protest against America.
At the beginning of Kaepernick’s protest he showed his solidarity to his cause by sitting out of the national anthem as a whole, but army veteran Nate Boyer expressed his criticisms with that strategy and suggested he kneel instead. Thus, started the end to a new beginning.
“Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it. When I told my mom about this article, she cautioned me that ‘the last thing our country needed right now was more hate.’ As usual, she’s right. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind. I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you. Keep on trying,” said Boyer in a letter to Kaepernick.
After being ridiculed, threatened, endorsed by Nike and the face of a movement bigger than himself all in the matter of three years, Kaepernick still has the desire to go back to the NFL.
Kaepernick wanting to go back to league raised the question if the former quarterback was going against his own cause by wanting to continue to work for an institution that worked so hard to keep him out.
I first want to acknowledge Kaepernick’s overall love for the sport of football and that if any of us were in a position to do what they love professionally and be paid immensely for it, we would. But, I cannot help to think that there is some sort of catch in going back to work for the NFL.
The NFL has declared that any players kneeling during the national anthem will now be hit with a fine, according to business news publication Quartz.
Judging by the racial demographic it make sense as to why. When Kaepernick began to kneel many black athletes followed suit, which ultimately lost the NFL a lot of money.
“While 70% of NFL players are black, [compared to the] 9% of [black] managers in the league office. And as for team CEOs or presidents — the ones chiefly responsible for deciding what to do about kneeling — it’s exactly 0%,” according to Quartz.
As for his Nov. 16 workout, Kaepernick announced that same afternoon he would be moving his workout 59 miles away from the original location to a high school — 30 minutes before the workout was schedule. So, instead of 32 teams to watch him play, only eight showed up.
“I have been ready for three years, I have been denied for three years,” said Kaepernick. “We are waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams to stop running, stop running from the truth and stop running from the people. We are out here, we are ready to play.”
I truly believe that if Kaepernick wanted to play football he would do so elsewhere, but because he is bound to this cause and has willingly put his livelihood and reputation on the line, I think he has a point to prove. However, if signing a contract with the NFL means silencing himself and what he fought so hard to build, then sadly it was all for nothing.
This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Qur’an Hansford.