When the NFL’s protest initially started, students of history knew the end result could be really bad for QB Colin Kaepernick. Muhammad Ali once stood up for what he believed, and it cost him three prime years of his career. Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a political gesture by raising gloved black fists on the Olympic medal stand at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, each were societal pariahs for decades afterwards—even some family members disowned them.
John Carlos & Tommie Smith made history with raised fists on the medal stand, but Peter Norman was an ally too. https://t.co/WkIfoM6Ggs
Former Chicago Bulls shooting guard Craig Hodges delivered a letter of protest directly to then president George Herbert Walker Bush at a White House visit by the 1992 NBA championship team, and was forced into retirement because nobody would sign him afterwards, the great Curt Flood basically sacrificed the latter part of his career, as well as future hopes of coaching or managing in professional baseball, to reshape free agency rules in Major League Baseball.
And lest we forget former NBA flamethrower shooting guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and the manner that his decision to observe his religion over saluting the flag affected his career. So, you see, the numbers were stacked up against Colin in more ways than one, and from the very beginning.
Last month, I wrote an article for The Shadow League suggesting that perhaps it was time for Colin to segue into a more direct leadership role within the NFL player-led protest that he is the catalyst for. With recent reports that Colin Kaepernick would like to attend player meetings with the National Football League comes several epiphanies for this writer. First, either the trajectory of this protest was predictable, or I’m clairvoyant. So, with no emails, voicemail or scholarship from Professor X’s School for Gifted Students, I’ll have to assume that this is indicative of the former rather than the latter.
It was predictable that the National Football League would bristle with disdain for Kap, also predictable that legions of fans would threaten to boycott the league, predictable that Colin would become the catalyst for other protest actions, predictable that the National Football League would be lambasted from the conservative right, and that the protests would be mislabeled as a referendum on patriotism, and that advertisers and networks would be under incredible pressure.
Why were they predictable?
Because there’s historic precedence for them all. However, what has been unprecedented is the manner that the NFL has reacted, with efforts to incorporate social activism into its rainbow of charitable efforts. Now, with the latest revelation that Kap wanted to sit across from NFL owners a little over a year after he first sat during the anthem prior to a preseason game, it appears as if we’re seeing this come full circle.
According to Attorney Mark Geragos, who filed a grievance last month under the NFLs collective bargaining agreement alleging collusion against Kap in retaliation for his protest, had said Colin planned on attending “if they do it… as proposed.”
Just days after it was initially announced that Kaepernick was interested in attending the meeting, it was announced that the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have rejected the idea of Colin's participation. San Francisco safety Eric Reid, the first player to kneel alongside Kaepernick, has been an active supporter of Kap since his defacto exile and believes Colin Kaepernick should sit at the bargaining table as well.
Kaepernick's attorney says he was never invited to player-owner meetings despite reports https://t.co/sTv663RaEj
NFL says the league offered Kaepernick a meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell, but Kaepernick hasn't taken them up on their offer. According to Kaepernick's lawyer, the NFL is the one that is balking. Shenanigans.
According to ESPN, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent texted Kaepernick on Oct. 31 to update him on the ongoing talks about social issues between players and owners, league spokesman Joe Lockhart told Trotter on Tuesday.
At the end of the text message, Vincent extended the invitation for Kaepernick to meet with Goodell, according to Lockhart, who said the league has not heard back from the former San Francisco 49ers star.
Yesterday. Geragos told Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson that they did respond to the invitation but it was rescinded when a mediator was requested.
Colin Kaepernick, mediation and the stalled player-owner meetings https://t.co/MKJIMxVxns
The intent of this non-binding mediation is to have a third party push the issue forward. Additionally, nothing said in the meetings can be used by either side in other legal matters, i.e. Kap’s collusion case.
“Every day that goes by, the collusion case gets stronger and stronger. Even a passive fan of the NFL will tell you…it’s almost beyond any doubt that there’s collusive activity going on here,” Geragos told The Undefeated.
Jerry Jones among owners that must hand over phone & email records in Kaepernick collusion case, per @AdamSchefter https://t.co/YPfy6bWQ7X
The top concern for the group is criminal justice reform. Many owners, coaches and league officials have extensive connections to law enforcement or the prison industrial complex. So, I have to take reports of their so-called efforts with a slab of salt. Yup, a whole damn slab. You see, not once has the NFL ever mention police brutality or institutional racism.
No doubt, the entire subject would be sanitized beyond recognition once drawn up for the consumption and comfort of the mainstream. However, by enacting this initiative next season, the league has basically signaled a mandatory anthem participation policy coming in the not so distant future.
In the meantime, and in between time, the ravenous maw of institutional racism gnashes at, salivates over, devours and ingests black and brown lives at a terrifying rate. In effect, a slow motion holocaust. But y'all don't hear me though. Meanwhile, QB Colin Kaepernick's unprecedented path toward the redemption of his career, as well as continued activism, remain unchanged.