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NFL Blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick Continues

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The start of the 2017 NFL regular season is just days away, and controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still without a team.

Many know Kaepernick as the football player with the afro who knelt during the National Anthem before football games, but he is also a quarterback with talent. He had the seventh best touchdown to interception ratio in the 2016 season: 16 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. He, without question, is better than many quarterbacks – even some starting quarterbacks – that are currently on NFL rosters.

The New York Jets feature quarterbacks Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg. There is no making a case that any one of those three is more talented than Kaepernick.

The list of backup quarterbacks that teams seem to prefer over Kaepernick can only make one wonder: what is keeping Kaepernick from getting a contract. Despite denials from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and many team owners, the answer is simple: Kaepernick is being blacklisted. Owners are scared to sign him for fear of a backlash from those fans who take offense to Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the national anthem as a means of protesting what he sees as a racist judicial and law enforcement system.

The Baltimore Ravens were considering signing Kaepernick at the beginning of the NFL pre-season. However, despite both the team’s general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh being in favor of the signing, team owner Steve Bisciotti wanted to seek input from team sponsors and fans before committing to Kaepernick.

No one knows for sure what kind of input Bisciotti received, but there was no contract offer made to Kaepernick. Team spokespersons deny that Bisciotti eventually blocked the Kaepernick acquisition. Instead, the Ravens signed journeyman quarterback Thad Lewis. Let that sink in. Many Ravens fans were unhappy with their team’s decision to pass on Kaepernick, but only 15 of them showed up outside of the Ravens stadium showing their displeasure with signs of protests.

In his denials of a blacklist of Kaepernick, Goodell has almost confirmed it. “It’s one of those things where we have to understand that there are people who have different viewpoints,” Goodell told ESPN. “It’s something that I think everybody wants. The national anthem is a special moment for me. It’s a point of pride. That is a really important moment but we also have to understand the other side – that people do have rights, and we want to respect those.”

Indeed, there have been several other players who have taken a knee during the Anthem both in protest of what they feel is a racist society and in support of Kaepernick, yet they remain employed. Some team owners, such as the Miami Dolphins Steven Ross, have even supported their players’ right to the free expression of kneeling during the Anthem. So, why is it only Kaepernick that is suffering for his expressing his viewpoint with such an action?

The far-right website Downtrend, probably unknowingly, answered that question with the following: “The league has invested a lot of resources into presenting itself as a patriotic organization over the years and has seen it all go up in smoke due to a small amount of oppressed multi-millionaires rallying around a locker room pariah as if he was… Ghandi.”

Simply put, Kaepernick is the poster boy and symbol of what some see as an anti-American sentiment held by some NFL players. Teams won’t release players that kneel or express support of Kaepernick; that would be too damaging to their chances of winning. However, the NFL leadership and ownership seem to be willing to suit up considerably less-talented quarterbacks than Kaepernick in order to maintain the image of being a true-red, white and blue, patriotic organization.


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2 Responses to “NFL Blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick Continues”

  1. Linda on September 4th, 2017 2:43 pm

    What a great article

  2. Chris McKnight on September 4th, 2017 2:58 pm

    Interesting and informed editorial; thanks to the Torch for its willingness to talk about the role of protests in a society based on its rebellion and protests against oppressive governments.

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NFL Blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick Continues