Colin Kaepernick should already be on an NFL roster. Men who were backup quarterbacks in the Arena League, not stars or starters there, but backups, have been given jobs ahead of him. Men who weren’t even starters in college have been given jobs ahead of him. Men who’ve never been to the playoffs, never had winning seasons, never been to the Pro Bowl, have all been given jobs ahead of him.
At this point, if you still think his unemployment is a football decision, as the preseason ramps up, you aren’t just misjudging the situation, you are willfully ignorant.
Let me break it down. Sources from inside of the Baltimore Ravens have said their coach, John Harbaugh, wants to sign him. Their General Manager, Ozzie Newsome, wants to sign him, but the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, openly said that Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality and backlash from fans were a factor on why his team had not already signed him. The team needs him. Players on the team have openly said they’d welcome him with open arms. He’s absolutely the best quarterback available. Hell, he’s the best unsigned player – period, but teams keep contorting themselves in the most painful ways imaginable to justify why they won’t sign him.
Now, in what I think is an NFL first, the Ravens have publicly solicited prayer on the decision. No joke, Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti made a public prayer request on what the team should do. What’s wild is that the Ravens, of all teams, have had players involved in murders, beatings of women, drug possession, DUI, and so much more – and never made public prayer requests on whether they should sign or keep those players. In 2014, the Ravens had five different players arrested in the offseason alone. Guess how many times Colin Kaepernick has been arrested in 30 years? None. The man is a model citizen. He’s generous. He serves the community. He’s quiet and reserved. He’s brilliantly smart. And he is known throughout the league as a great teammate.
Here’s the thing – I’m actually a religious man. I pray. And I hope the Ravens team owners and front office members pray about this decision because what teams are doing to Kaepernick, effectively banning him from the league because he spoke out against police brutality, is fundamentally un-Christian. To be clear, I didn’t introduce faith into this conversation – the Ravens did. So let me press this case a bit further.
What it appears this is going to come down to is whether or not the Ravens pray to the God of Donald Trump or the God of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Trump’s God, and the followers of Trump’s God, believe Trump is a man of great faith who is actually bringing Jesus back to the White House. Trump’s God and the followers of Trump’s God appear to hate immigrants and refugees.
All of that is strange because the God of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the God of the Gospels, loves who Trump and his followers so often hate, despise, and reject. The God of the Gospels advocates peace and non-violence, while Trump encourages police to be brutal to suspects and his audience members to be brutal to protestors. The God of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John says “what you did to the least of those among you, including refugees and immigrants, you did to me.”
What we have right now, in the NFL, in America, in the White House – it’s strange to say – is a theological problem – a fundamental misunderstanding of scripture. That’s actually an understatement. What we are witnessing is a complete abuse of the fundamental purpose of the life and ministry of Jesus. Because if a single person in America believes Donald Trump is somehow the personification of Jesus that will be bringing Christianity back to the White House – American Christianity is in crisis.
More and more, it seems that supporters of Trump are confusing Christianity with a peculiar version of patriotic, partisan white supremacy. That’s actually not new, but drove the KKK. It drove slavery and colonialism. It drove plantations and lynchings. It drove Donald Trump into the White House.
And it now appears that whether Colin Kaepernick gets a job in the NFL might just come down to whether or not billionaire Steve Bisciotti prays to the God of Donald Trump and the Republican Party or to the God of the Gospels. If it’s Trump’s God, we already know the answer. Trump has already spoken very clearly about his disdain for Colin Kaepernick and his love of police brutality. If Trump’s God feels the same way, then surely he’ll tell the Ravens owner to shun Colin Kaepernick. That would absolutely be the white, conservative Christian thing to do.
(AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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