While the National Football League continues to “blackball,” or more appropriately described as politically ostracize, Colin Kaepernick for exerting his 1st Amendment constitutional right to protest prior to game time (on stadium properties which are publicly owned) for three years now, the League is seemingly trying to walk a fine line between fans who just don’t like Kaepernick, fans who are simply racist and fans who support the current free agent and former 49er quarterback.
The League cut a deal with Roc Nation to become the NFL’s live music entertainment strategist. From a business standpoint, the NFL has built an amazing brand. It’s the most lucrative sports league in the world (yes, this includes in comparison with the world-famous European soccer leagues). For several years now the League has been in the process of creating rules that put it’s players at a lesser risk of experiencing long-term brain damage. This only came about after former athletes and medical studies began to insist on the NFL making changes in order to prevent permanent brain damage. For the Old School fans, they may sometimes not like these new rules causing the football league to become “soft” but it’s clearly in the best interest of the NFL (which potentially major lawsuits in the coming years over former players experiencing brain damage). Anyone interested can read the largest study to date published two years ago by Boston University suggesting that 99% of deceased former NFL players had permanent brain damage. Read about that here. The League did not want to change because it preferred to accommodate its fan base but is slowly being forced to change.
The same can be said regarding the Kaepernick ordeal. The root of the issue is not that the NFL has a problem per se with Colin Kaepernick’s protesting. The issue stems from the NFL having to cater to an enormous percentage of its fan base that is flat-out racist. As Kaepernick’s protesting of police brutality continued while he was still playing with the San Francisco 49ers, and as other NFL players began to join him in protesting, the racist element of the League’s fan base voices grew louder and louder to the point where they also began to boycott the NFL. However, there’s a fundamental difference in the nature of their boycott versus that of Colin Kaepernick-led protest. Kaepernick’s protest in protected in the Bill Of Rights. It’s right there for any American patriot or un-patriotic racist American to go reference in the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment. The racist fans can legally boycott the NFL all they way. That’s their prerogative. However, the NFL cannot legally ostracize Colin Kaepernick for political reasons. It is only doing so to appease the racist fan base who clearly hates to see a Black man peacefully, and quietly,exercising his constitutional rights. To not agree with Kaepernick is one thing but to disallow him from protesting within his constitutional rights on public property (sports stadiums built with tax dollars and owned by the cities or counties that hose them) is illegal.
This explains the back and forth we seen last week between Kaepernick and the NFL. It’s clearly a legal issue at this point and Kaepernick is insisting on not giving in whereas the NFL would hope to come to terms with the free-agent and move on from this matter. This also explains the deal with Roc Nation. The NFL is too big of a league, of a brand, to be tied down by American internal politics but at the same time it has become center stage for America’s Elephant-In-The-Room politics. Truthfully, the NFL wants no part of this drama. We shouldn’t assume Roger Goodell is a racist. He’s asshole, but not necessarily a racist. New Orleans Saints fans, Black & White and everyone else in between, can vouch for Goodell being an asshole. He’s been a firm commissioner for the League since the day he assumed those responsibilities and he’s been an “asshole” to everyone that’s had to come to his office, regardless of race.
This brings us to waiver appeal sent to Colin Kaepernick by the NFL this past weekend prior to the combine-like workout set up for the free-agent quarterback. TMZ has broken the story on the all-so-important waiver (a.k.a. contract). The NFL waiver is reportedly more than 1,200 words while Kaepernick’s counter waiver contained only 268 words. The reason why Kaepernick countered with his own waiver can be explained by the following language found in the initial waiver sent to him by the NFL which states, “In consideration for the opportunity to participate in the workout, Player [releases the NFL from all liability] … arising out of, occurring during, or related directly or indirectly to the workout.”
Kaepernick, and presumably his legal team, were not willing to take part in the combine-like workout in Atlanta under the conditions of such verbiage and countered with a waiver that only provided the NFL with a waiver for physical injury-related issues, and not issues “indirectly [related] to the workout.” As TMZ noted the NFL left Kaepernick with a take it or leave it moment. We’ll assume Kap is playing chess, and left the crumbs where he found them.
Interestingly, a transformation has happened over the past few years. The elephant-in-the-room used to be the significant proportion of American’s who are racist. That’s out in the open today (although not everyone who disagrees with Kaepernick should be written off as a racist). The elephant-in-the-room today is Colin Kaepernick. Anyone who thought his cause would fade away into the sunset after the Roc Nation/ NFL deal was mistaken.
Again, we’ll assume Colin Kaepernick is playing chess. Catch his post-interview workout below.