Kaepernick Exposes the NFL

Screengrab via CBS Sports Colin Kaepernick, pictured above, during his workout just outside Atlanta, GA on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Cole Tamarri

Managing Editor  

Colin Kaepernick. The mere mention of his name sends conservatives who see the flag as more important than the freedoms it represents running for the hills.

Last Saturday, Kaepernick had what amounted to a tryout at an Atlanta-area high school for scouts from NFL teams. Originally, the workout was supposed to take place at the Falcons’ facility in nearby Flowery Branch.

After contention between the league and the former quarterback on two key points, Kaepernick decided to move the workout.

The two points were media presence at the workout and language in a waiver the league wanted Kaepernick to sign.

However, these two sticking points are only symptoms of the bigger problem with the NFL.

The truth of the matter is the league does not want Kaepernick to ever play in the league again. It is evident in the actions of the 32 owners and the indifference on Park Avenue in New York City at the office of the commissioner, Roger Goodell.

If the league truly wanted to give Kaepernick a shot, they would not have waited until the waning years of his prime at 32 years old.

Even the logistics of the workout were completely unfair to the former 49er quarterback.

Normally, any free agent workouts are held on Tuesdays, which allows team scouts ample time for evaluation.

Instead, the league made Kaepernick compete with the collegiate ranks for attention from scouts and additionally would not allow media at the Falcons’ facility.

From the outset three years ago, it has been plain and obvious that the league has not even tried to give an appearance of a fair shake.

The actions of the NFL are that of a corporate behemoth that operates in cowardice. They are afraid of repercussions from the president of the United States who once told an audience in Alabama that Kaepernick “should go to hell.”

Moreover, they are afraid of alienating parts of NFL fan bases that do not care to understand what it is that Kaepernick is fighting for.

These are the same fans who comment on Twitter, Facebook, and sports message boards across the internet, “Stick to Sports.”

What is the most telling part of all is that Kaepernick did not want this movement to be about him, it was to be about the problem of police brutality in America.

Instead, the NFL wanted to make Kaepernick an example of what happens when a player has the courage to break the mold.

The league has proven is that it will gladly use the labor of African-Americans but cares little for the issues affecting their communities.

Kaepernick has yet again exposed the NFL who continues to believe that by suffocating protest and independent thought that they are doing a service to themselves and their fans.

With the former San Francisco quarterback, the league had an opportunity to position itself as a leader on social justice issues.

Instead, they continue to operate in half-measures and platitudes, hiring Roc Nation and Jay-Z as league partners to provide as cover while the owners and Goodell continue to act in bad faith against Kaepernick and those who stand for his causes.

Although Kaepernick may never play another down, he will be on the right side of history.

Email Cole at: 

ctamarri@live.esu.edu

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