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Colin Kaepernick will be Remembered in NFL History

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) walks off the field at Bank of America Stadium with his fist up in the air after their game against the Panthers. (PHOTO: Gerry Melendez for ESPN)

Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned by an NFL team. By all accounts it is not because he no longer possesses the talent, desire, or character to be a starting quarterback in this league, but instead because of something he can’t do. Kaepernick refused to not connect the injustice he saw in American society with American society.

Michael Rosenburg of SI.com writes “NFL teams are businesses, owned by prideful billionaires…” in his article.

In his article Rosenburg does a great job citing sources and pulling information that point to the fact that Kaepernick is still a high quality player and teammate but he is essentially being kept out of the league due to the fact that the NFL front office and team owners disagree with his having an image outside of the football world. The paradox as presented in the SI article that Kapernick is as follows:

  1. He is absolutely, completely, 100% committed to playing in the NFL this year.
  2. If NFL teams demand he put aside his social justice work, he will walk away from the game.

While a great article unpacking Kaepernick’s situation, Rosenburg falls short of being too critical of the NFL and NFL owners. At the time of his article Rosenburg still reserved hope that following the draft that Kaepernick would be picked up by a team in need, but that has yet to happen.

A follow up article picks up where Rosenburg left off. Writer André Carlisle’s article starts with the premise that Kaepernick isn’t being blackballed by the NFL for kneeling during the National Anthem but because of something else. He states: “What’s left reflected is that Colin Kaepernick isn’t being blackballed because he knelt for the national anthem, he’s being blackballed because the NFL has (for decades) persuaded its patrons that what he is doesn’t exist: a three-dimensional, wholly human Black athlete.”

Carlisle’s article explores the conversation at a higher level as he cites examples of how the NFL has capitalized financially on some of the league’s more controversial issues and where sympathy and empathy would dictate a specific course of action, financial gain and a desire to keep the status quo dictate a completely different course which the NFL will ultimately pursue.

“For this reason, last year’s anthem protest remains the focal point of ire with which to cast Kaepernick a pariah. Despite saying, months ago, that he would no longer kneel during the anthem, the gesture remains central to his unemployment. To reinforce the way in which the NFL suggests that you view its players, it has to. If it becomes about anything else — his message, his goals, and his work with/in disadvantaged communities — a humanity is added that the NFL has not yet approved, and doesn’t know how to deal with.”

NFL owners cite NFL fans overwhelming negative reaction as the main reason for their contempt for Kaepernick’s protest but recent survey’s point to the contrary. In  Deron Snyder’s article he pulls survey data that shows less than 3% of surveyors actually would stop watching football because of Kaepernick’s form of protest. Most surveyed, over 80%, stated that they not only understood his protest, but sympathized with his cause. So what is it?

Kaepernick continues to keep the struggle front and center despite his verbal silence on the matter, and from the looks of it more players this year are starting to pick up the torch to keep the dialogue fresh in front of football fans.

If you desire know more or support him or the causes he supports.
Please visit his official website, to see how you can add your voice.

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