By Ryan Velez
We extensively covered Colin Kaepernick’s series of protests last year in regards to police violence across the country, as well as the discussions it provoked inside the NFL, its fanbase, and beyond. Now we revisit the issue, as by all accounts, Kaepernick seems to have lost his career as a quarterback over his stance, being effectively blackballed. Black Enterprise contributor Alfred Edmond, Jr. wrote an article regarding Kaepernick’s unemployment, saying that it may be enough to end his fandom of the NFL.
This isn’t a lightly made decision, as Edmond has been a fan for 50 years, as “an 8-year-old with my first electric football set,” as he puts it.
“But over the past five years, it seems the NFL is doing everything it can to drive me away, ranging from turning blind eyes to domestic violence (until the infamous Ray Rice videos forced the league and its owners to deal with it), to covering up and avoiding accountability for brain injuries to its players (again, until forced to deal with it, including by a pattern of players committing suicide),” he says. Kaepernick’s treatment is the final straw in this regard, but not necessarily for the reason you may think.
In the spirit of disclosure, Edmond says he does agree with Kaepernick on racial injustice and misconduct by law enforcement, but this isn’t why he is thinking about parting ways. “For me, it’s about the right of every American to peacefully protest without the threat of being stripped of his or her livelihood, regardless of race, whether I agree or not.” He adds that Richard Sherman’s sentiment on the subject is correct: “Kaepernick’s being unemployed as an NFL quarterback has nothing to do with football, and everything to do with “boy, stay in your place” justice. Worse, in the minds of too many people, black athletes are paid to stay in their place, and can expect to be deprived of their livelihood if they don’t.”
Perhaps what makes the issue worse in his eyes is what the NFL is willing to push aside or accept. “The NFL gives opportunities to former and alleged criminals as a matter of routine, to say nothing of the questionable morals and character they tolerate in players, coaches, and other NFL personnel.” Without any legal or moral question in Kaepernick’s choice of protests, it doesn’t stand to reason why he should be treated this way, especially when there are teams who could use his talents.