The NFL is apparently trying to buy itself a social conscience. It’s “Let’s Listen Together” campaign announced this past Tuesday about its intent to highlight a commitment to social justice and equality is clearly just another attempt to do the opposite.
If the NFL was really “listening,” it would have included the man who started the social justice conversation inside the NFL– Colin Kaepernick. Instead, it continues to try to silence him and lock him out of the dialogue. Not once was his name even mentioned– not that a “mention” would have been enough.
Kaepernick made a career-altering decision for others: he decided he could no longer sit back and ignore police brutality and other social injustices as a black man in America. He took a knee. And the NFL punished him for pointing out the problem, and perhaps unintentionally pushing the entire nation to come face-to-face with this ongoing, systemic sickness. Had Kaepernick never taken a knee, the NFL’s new campaign would have never evolved to this $89 million feel-good campaign.
By the way, $89 million to NFL owners is just a little more than chump change.
So why is the man responsible for the League’s change of heart not involved in this effort, and more importantly, why is he still not employed? It doesn’t take a good set of working eyes to see the hypocrisy in this mess.
Until Colin Kaepernick is treated fairly by this institution, I cannot support it. I refuse to support it. No tv, no stadium games, no NFL sweatshirts, no jerseys, no mugs. Nada. The teams’ refusal to hire Kaepernick is a slap in the face to the memory of every unarmed black man and woman shot down by the police– and to every one of us in the target demographic who have managed to avoid a fatal confrontation to now, but could be shot down today or tomorrow.
The League’s treatment of Kaepernick is a continued warning to every other black man in a football jersey to think twice about becoming a black social change agent. My friend, the late Muhammad Ali, was once castigated and vilified by members of his own sport, stripped of his title and denied licenses to fight by state boxing commissions all around the nation. History, however, ultimately recorded the correctness of his position and the larger-than-life impact of his stance.
Kaepernick needs our support. If you’re black or consider yourself to be a person of good will, but you’re actively supporting the NFL, I can’t even begin to understand. Kaepernick took a righteous knee for people like me, for our children and our grandchildren because he knew it was right. If we can’t “take a knee” for him, what does that say about us?
Title me: tuned out for SuperBowl 2018.