NFL Fans Don’t Trust Colin Kaepernick
NFL fans and people across America don’t trust Colin Kaepernick. Since kneeling for the National Anthem during a preseason game back in 2016, the currently unemployed quarterback has become a lightning rod for social commentary, both in support of his actions and against. For NFL fans, it has mostly been ‘against.’ While the NFL initially supported the activist trend among its players, they abruptly changed course as attendance declined, ratings plummeted and fans just stopped going to games. The amount of fans who were disgusted by his act of kneeling during the National Anthem, and of other players following suit was enough for Roger Goodell to address the issue from a position that players should stand for the Star Spangled Banner.
While players around the league, mainstream media, and entertainers pledged their support to him, he is still jobless today. Even the Green Bay Packers, who lost all-world quarterback Aaron Rogers this Sunday quickly dispelled any possible discussion about signing the former SuperBowl starter, by announcing that Brett Hundley would be their starter going forward. Today, they promoted Joe Callahan to the active roster, virtually eliminating Kaepernick as an option.
Detractors have made the case that Kaepernick is a better player than most of the backup quarterbacks, and even some starters in the NFL. There is plenty of truth to that. Kapaernick had success on the field last season on a lackluster San Francisco 49ers team, and came thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to winning a SuperBowl only a few years ago. Both Hundley and Callahan have never started an NFL game. One could argue that he would be an improvement over ten starters in the league.
This morning, Kaepernick filed a grievance against NFL owners, alleging collusion under the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Although his talent, accomplishments and proclivity for “social activism” make this case compelling, collusion by owners will be extremely difficult to prove. His choice to opt-out of his guaranteed contract earlier this year does not help his cause.
Bottom line is, millions of people don’t trust Colin Kaepernick. Let’s review some of the main reasons why that is…
People don’t trust the nature of his activism
At the outset, Kaepernick sat and later knelt as a mechanism for bringing awareness to police brutality and ‘oppression of black people.’ He received admiration from some, including teammates Torry Smith and Eric Reid and harsh criticism from others. Colin expressed his opinion, and backed it up with a financial pledge. Incidents like the fatal shooting of Philando Castille gave credence to his protest. To his credit, he has donated hundred of thousands of dollars to families affected by violence and youth organizations and organized donations to Somalia. While many respected the fact that he stood by his convictions, the nature of his activism took a sharp turn in the months that followed. Kaepernick weakened his platform by wearing a shirt depicting Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. He was quickly called out for this, and responded by praising the ‘literacy rate‘ achieved under his rule. For a guy who chose to fight against “oppression,” extolling the virtues of one of the most oppressive dictators in recent history was mind-boggling. He further diminished people’s trust in his activism by rocking a pair of socks with pigs on them to training camp. While he defended his choice in footwear by stating that it was meant for “rogue cops,” he successfully incensed millions of law enforcement personnel, their families, and the people that they serve. He also donated $25,000 to a foundation that honors Assata Shakur, a convicted cop killer. A video of Kaepernick dropping an N-bomb during a regular season game the year before incited further questions about his integrity. Actions like these caused many to second-guess the nature of his stance on social justice.
People don’t trust Colin Kaepernick for the timing of his activism
At the outset of training camp in 2016, Kaepernick, who led his team to a SuperBowl appearance three years prior, was in danger of becoming an afterthought in the NFL. Read-option offenses had fallen out of favor and hindered quarterbacks like Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and Tim Tebow who gained notoriety for their ability to run with the football. While his talent and prior production could not be ignored, Kaepernick’s 2015 season was abysmal, and resulted in him being benched for Blaine Gabbert. Like Eminem releasing his freestyle aimed at President Trump just prior to dropping his latest album, many wondered if there was an ulterior motive to his protest. Kaepernick has become a household name in 2016 due to his protests for social justice. The timing was perfect for someone who’s future as a starting quarterback in the NFL was in serious jeopardy.
People don’t trust Colin Kaepernick because of the setting he chose to promote his cause
Football Sundays have historically been a time for people to come together, enjoy the company of friends, and unwind by watching the games. People resented the fact that politics were being injected into the sport that they loved. Pregame shows, post game shows and daily sports programming soon featured discussions about politics and race relations. Fans who tuned in to see players compete on the field of play became incensed that the focus was now on who was kneeling, raising their fists, or protesting for social justice. While some argued ‘that’s what it takes to raise awareness,’ many disagreed with the time and place. If I am watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, I’m investing a half hour of my time for a few good laughs. If, during the show, one of the characters launches into an unscripted diatribe about how Big-Agri is destroying our country, regardless of if I agree with the premise or not, I’m switching channels. Why? Because I tuned in to laugh and be entertained. If we want to hear about social justice, or racial inequality, we can turn on the news. The vast of majority of NFL fans watch the games to see players compete on the field, period. Shoving players’ political opinions in the face of viewers who didn’t ask to hear them, was an awful business decision for the NFL.
People don’t trust Colin Kaepernick because few of us can protest, or share our political views at our jobs
Most Americans understand we can exercise our First Amendment rights through peaceful protest. Most of us also understand that, should we choose to exercise those rights at our job, we will likely be unemployed faster than our boss can say “Human Resources would like to see you ASAP.” While Kaepernick’s protest was peaceful, he chose to protest while on the job. With people becoming more and more offended each day, few of us would be willing to risk our careers to get a point across. Many have boycotted the NFL, as they have chosen to allow players to protest while they are on the clock.
People don’t trust Colin Kaepernick because of his girlfriend
When Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti hesitated when considering signing Kapaernick earlier this year, Kap’s girlfriend was displeased. Nessa Diab fired shots at Bisciotti, comparing him to a slave owner. The controversial tweet included Ravens legend, Ray Lewis. Who would hire Kaepernick, knowing that one false move will set off his volatile significant other. Her outspoken support of Black Lives Matter is also worth mentioning.
People don’t trust Colin Kaepernick because he chose to kneel during the National Anthem
The Flag of the United States, and the Star Spangled Banner represent many things to different Americans. There is a significant amount of the population that considers the flag sacred. Many have died on the battlefield defending our flag. Millions of people, particularly in Middle America, and those with military or law enforcement ties were enraged by Kapaernick’s chosen form of protest. Even civil rights activist and former NFL great Jim Brown has criticized him for his actions. While it is in his rights to kneel during the anthem, the NFL is now dealing with the consequences of his decision; that millions of people who revere the Stars and Stripes, have blasted advertisers, changed the channel, and moved on from the NFL.
NFL fans are sick of their Sundays being hijacked by social justice warriors. Whether it’s Cam Newton or Michael Bennett raising their fists, or teams linking arms, or kneeling to bring “awareness” to the cause du jour, fans don’t tune in for players commentary on social issues, they watch the games to see them compete. After pushing social justice on its fans, people don’t trust the NFL, and they don’t trust Colin Kaepernick.