Colin Kaepernick has become one of the most talked about football players in the sport despite not being signed to a team.
It all started during the preseason last year, when Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem.
When asked about his protest, Kaepernick was frank about his views about race in America. He told reporters,
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
He knew then what kind of statement he was making. This is the NFL, a league with a largely white, suburban fan base. Not exactly a group of people that understand or acknowledge the issue of racial disparity in America.
Kaepernick said at the time that he was ready to risk it all to make his statement,
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed… If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
They have taken football away from Kaepernick. He’s currently unsigned despite the fact that even last year he was a well-above average quarterback.
But away from football, Kaepernick is making an impact.
He started the Know Your Rights Camp, set up to empower and inform young people of color. The goal of Know Your Rights Camp is, in their own words:
“To help build a stronger generation of people that will create the change that is much needed in this world.”
Kaep also started his own million dollar pledge, in which he donates all his jersey sales from last season (he was the highest-selling jersey in the league at one point) towards organizations in oppressed communities.
In an interview with USA Today, outspoken Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman broached the topic of Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick has not been signed by an NFL team seemingly over his candid views about race in America, including kneeling during the national anthem.
The topic of the former 49ers quarterback, who took the team to the brink of a Super Bowl victory, has flooded sports talk radio and debate shows all summer.
So during an interview with Jarrett Bell of USA Today, Richard Sherman took some time to ask his interviewer a question of his own.
Sherman asked, “So what do you think about Colin Kaepernick?”
Bell wrote that he thought Kaepernick was “being blackballed, plain and simple. Look at the lesser-skilled QBs who found teams.”
This set Sherman off on an impassioned monologue about the hypocritical nature of the NFL, which employs plenty of embattled players or convicted criminals of various crimes.
Sherman pinpointed Michael Vick, who spent 21 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring, but was re-signed after his release.
The Seahawks cornerback highlighted Vick’s lucrative contract upon his return, “Vick came back and (eventually) got a $100 million deal.”
To Richard Sherman, the NFL is sending Kaepernick and the rest of the league’s outspoken players a clear message:
“What is it about? It’s not about football or color. It’s about, ‘Boy, stay in your place’… Not a lot of guys are willing to step out there. So the guys not speaking up for him are doing him a disservice. There should be a lot more guys saying something. Most guys are like, ‘I don’t want my job to end up the same way.'”
Then Sherman really got to the heart of the issue, pulling no punches in singling out certain players that are still on NFL rosters despite being accused of heinous crimes:
“I think it shows the racial divide in the league,” Bennett told USA TODAY Sports. “There are (accused) rapists and drunk drivers in the league. But he’s somebody who didn’t do anything to anybody. But you hear owners say, ‘We have to ask our fan base first.’ But the Giants kept Josh Brown (accused of domestic violence) Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of rape twice. The organization didn’t turn their back on him. They gave him a contract extension. Kaepernick didn’t do anything. That’s why racism is the biggest issue in America.”
Can’t say the dude is wrong.
Sherman turned his attention to specific teams that could clearly use a skilled quarterback.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is dealing with a back injury and the team’s backup is the incredibly underwhelming Ryan Mallett.
The Ravens have openly admitted to entertaining the idea of signing Kaepernick, who had 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions last year, but Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti is apparently blocking the singing because of worries over sponsors leaving.
NFL ownership drew the ire of Richard Sherman. He told Jarrett Bell:
“For you to say you have to check with sponsors and fans because this guy took a knee and made a statement? Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now – whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible – have jobs. You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.”
Despite the seriousness of the issue at hand, you gotta love Sherman clowning on the “bums” that are somehow employed over Kaepernick.
He extended that clowning to Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, “Blake Bortles has shown you enough to where you don’t think Kaep would be a solid fit? Kaep has won games.”
In their first practice in pads, Jaguars QB Blake Bortles threw 5 INTs today including one which was returned for a TD. Rough start.
The NFL purports to be a league in which anyone can have a job as long as they have the necessary skills.
We’ve seen constant examples of players who have done actual, harmful crimes continue to get employed in the NFL.
But Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem to protest the blatant racial inequality of America, can’t get signed.
As Kaepernick continues to be blackballed, he has established the Know Your Rights Camp, which describes itself as “a free campaign for youth fully funded by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.”
We hope to see Colin Kaepernick back in the NFL soon, not too long ago he was considered the future of the NFL, now he can’t get a job.
Big ups to Sherman for sticking up for a rival player and always spitting the real.