925 days ago, Colin Kaepernick played his last game in the NFL. He didn’t retire. He wasn’t banned for performance enhancing drugs. He didn’t violate the NFL’s conduct policy. He wasn’t arrested or charged with a crime. None of that.
He simply had the nerve to have a silent, peaceful protest of police brutality and systemic injustice before each game. And it appears to have cost him his entire career.
The NFL season officially began this week, and after a lifetime of loving the game, I am continuing my own personal boycott. Today I’ll tell you why.
I don’t get a chance to talk a lot about it, but I’m a HUGE sports fan and have been my whole life. Basketball, baseball, football, soccer, MMA, wrestling, golf, tennis, the Olympics, Strongman competitions, you name it and I’ve been watching it forever. And from the early 1980s until just about 3 years ago, I watched the NFL religiously. I used to have the NFL Sunday ticket where I could watch multiple games at the same time. My family and I used to throw big Super Bowl parties every year. I love the game. Love the competition. Love the strategy.
But I must admit that I loved it, and watched it religiously for nearly 30 years, without truly knowing how conservative and cowardly the owners of the teams were, I watched it religiously for nearly 30 years, without knowing that it was giving the players brain damage, and I watched it religiously for nearly 30 years without having any idea that this league would eventually ban a player, and effectively steal his career, because he peacefully, silently protested injustice in America.
And as much as I’d love to be watching the games this weekend, I just can’t. I just can’t bring myself to support a league, or a business, that has done what this league has done to Colin Kaepernick.
Not a single NFL expert believes that Colin Kaepernick was denied a job, was denied even a tryout, has been denied even a single contract offer, because he can’t play football. Of the nearly 100 quarterbacks in the league last season, only 10 had a winning record in the playoffs.
Colin Kaepernick is 4-2 as a starting quarterback in the NFL playoffs. 55 quarterbacks in the NFL right now have never started a single game in the playoffs.
In his career Colin Kaepernick had 72 touchdowns, and just 30 interceptions, one of the best touchdown to interception ratios in NFL history.
He does not have lingering injuries. He is healthy and strong and ready to play.
In a confidential survey of defensive players in the NFL, 95% of defensive players said it’s ridiculous that he’s not in the league right now. And many of them flat out named the starting quarterbacks he should replace.
Here’s how bad it is, Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator from Florida, said yesterday that Colin Kaepernick should be in the NFL and that it’s not for football reasons he’s being denied a shot. Both the Jaguars and the Dolphins there in Florida are struggling and could use Kaepernick, but they refuse to sign him. It’s so bad that Rubio is saying it’s a mistake. That’s where we are right now.
And for me, and I’m not leading a boycott, but for me, I can’t support a league or a product or a company that openly, brazenly, public steals a man’s career because he took a quiet, peaceful stance against police brutality and injustice.
And I don’t wanna hear that if a team signs him, it will hurt the marketability of the team. His jersey was the #1 selling jersey in the league. He’s popular. He’s a hero to millions of people. And truth is that Colin Kaepernick would make many deeply irrelevant teams, who aren’t selling any jerseys or merchandise or tickets for that matter, he’d put many teams back on the map.
But here’s what I know – this is what happens in a league where Black men are 70% of the players, but white men own every team, but one. While Black athletes put their bodies and brains on the line day in and day out, when men, primarily Trump supporters, reap the majority of profits while taking next to no risks.
The older I get, the more I care about where my dollars go. The older I get, the more I care about the social responsibility of the companies and brands that I support. And here’s the deal, these companies and brands are going to march forward even if I boycott, even if I pick and choose, but it doesn’t mean they have to do it with my dollars or my support.
And I get to have the peace of mind of knowing that I’m not funding my own oppression. Many corporations, including teams in the NFL, are getting people rich, who then go and give that money to campaigns and causes and other corporations, that are holding us back. And for me, I don’t want any part of that.
So, on Sundays, during game days, I’m just going to be hanging out with the family.