It’s taken a while to get here, and there have been a whole host of ugly incidents along the way, but the NFL truly hit its nadir this week.
The NFL will open its season tomorrow. Quarterbacks such as Brian Hoyer, Tom Savage and Mike Glennon will be opening day starters. Not among them is Colin Kaepernick, who led a flurry of national anthem protests last year over the treatment of people of color in the United States. Kaepernick has been blackballed by the league, which has a history of destroying the careers of players who are gay rights activists and players who are labor rights activists. Statistically, he was way better than some starters and most backups. The NFL’s silence on his treatment is appalling.
Kaepernick was right to take a knee. White supremacy in this country cares not for your status as a black American. You could be LeBron James or you could be Michael Bennett, another amazing activist, who was brutally assaulted by police on the weekend of the Mayweather-McGregor fight. The NFL’s silence on his treatment is appalling.
Let’s talk about the perception of justice in the NFL. Ray Lewis was trotted out today to talk about how the Ravens were so close to signing Kaepernick, but because of hurt feelings due to an unoriginal opinion posted on Twitter by Kaepernick’s girlfriend, the Ravens would no longer be signing Kaepernick. Bear in mind the hypocrisy of the messenger in this situation who has his own past brush with the law that the same team managed to somehow overlook. It wasn’t the first time this year that Lewis stumped for an unworthy cause.
The NFL can’t walk down any kind of road for a fair judicial system for its players without tripping over itself and pissing its pants. The old white men who defend racism run the league throw temper tantrums when the public won’t submit to their snake oil financial cons and won’t change the rules of the game to protect players who are sacrificing their future health to make the machine run.
The ratings for games went down last year. Fewer people are letting their kids play football. Until the league can adequately address the problems it faces, and put the true concerns of the players first, let it feel the boycott it richly deserves.