The 2017 – 2018 NFL season is underway and Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed. The former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers took a stance, ironically by kneeling, during the national anthem. His decision was made in order to protest racism and police brutality in the United States of America. America is extremely divided by the idea of racism, and the fight against police brutality with Caucasian police officers and African American individuals. Bringing up the topic of racism will be sure to cause a lot of debate and controversy especially on a grand stage such as the NFL. Colin Kaepernick showed bravery to speak up and voice his stance on race relations in this country. In doing so he lost his job and is being withheld from receiving another. We see excuse after excuse as to why he can’t play on another team; everything from his talent, to his locker room character, has been mentioned as to why he isn’t on an NFL roster. But in all honesty, it’s because of his protest. Of course NFL owners may not say this upfront but, the real reason is evident.
In this bi-weekly series I will give a brief lesson on the struggle of African American men who also faced ridicule, rejection and resentment for standing by their beliefs during their professional careers.
This will continue until Kaepernick finds a new NFL home. We may be doing this for a while …
Week one, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
On March 12, 1996 Mahmoud Adbul-Rauf refused to stand for the national anthem, stating that the flag was a symbol of oppression and that the United States had a long history of oppression. He said standing for the anthem also conflicted with his Islamic beliefs. He went on to be suspended by the NBA and later blackballed even further. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Rauf stated, “Making decisions like that can get you out the league. Dare you try to influence people to be socially or politically or religiously conscious? We don’t want that type of mentality to spread, so we have to make an example of that.” With those comments, Abdul-Rauf delivers an accurate representation on how athletes are treated if they decide to speak up for what they believe in. This is why we see some athletes shy away from stating their personal views due to fear of losing their job. Dez Bryant recently abstained from commenting on what is going on with this country. When asked about it he responded, “Whatever they [protesting players] got going on with that, that’s them. I don’t really have nothing to say about that.” On twitter he defended those statements by saying how he’s “concerned with feeding his family.” It’s sad to see that we have a superstar wide receiver who doesn’t want to comment on social justice issues due to fear of job security. Of course it may seem as though Bryant is coming off as a ‘selfish millionaire football player’ , when in reality, is trying to feed his family.
State of the QB Position
We are now watching mediocre quarterbacks get the start each Sunday; Josh McCown, Brian Hoyeer, etc. It’s clear that these teams could use a veteran quarterback; AT LEAST a veteran backup. We can’t forget that Kaepernick once lead his team to not one, but two NFC championship games and a Super Bowl. But for some reason he can’t get a job over Scott Tolzien.
Kaepernick has now received support from the top quarterbacks in the NFL saying he should be in the league competing with the best again. Green Bay Packers signal caller, Aaron Rodgers, and New England Patriots lead man, Tom Brady, have both come to the defense of Kaepernick. Rodgers stated in an interview, “He should be on a roster right now. I think because of the protests, he’s not.” Aaron Rodgers also expressed his knowledge and understanding of the protests in an interview with ESPN . “I’m gonna stand because that’s the way I feel about the flag — but I’m also 100 percent supportive of my teammates or any fellow players who are choosing not to,” Rodgers said. “They have a battle for racial equality. That’s what they’re trying to get a conversation started around.”
To try and come up with excuses as to why why he isn’t in the league right now is asinine. People of color have always, and will forever face racism and systematic oppression. Kaepernick is a great man who’s decided to use his platform to help the community. He deserves a shot at the NFL once again.
We’ll be back in a couple of weeks to continue this series … hopefully we won’t have to, but you know how that goes.