This past weekend the NFL season kicked off with somewhat less than a bang. Teams played before mostly empty stadiums because of the pandemic and television audiences appear to have suffered a drastic decrease from last season (although it’s still too early to have exact figures).
The reason for this decrease is widely attributed to the NFL’s newfound wokeness. That is to say, individual players, teams, and even the league itself have embraced the slogan and cause of Black Lives Matter.
To advance this cause, many players and entire teams have continued with protesting the anthem during games (something that has been going on for several seasons now) by kneeling or sitting or even going to the locker room when it’s played. Additionally, end zones will feature social justice slogans such as “End Racism” and “Black Lives Matter” just to name a few and players will wear stickers with the names of victims of racism (i.e. those who died in encounters with the police).
Of all the people upset over this mixing of sports and politics, however, there is one who should be delighted: Colin Kaepernick. For those in need of a refresher, Kaepernick is the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers who began kneeling during the anthem in the 2016 season. Reportedly, this was to raise awareness of America’s systemic racism, particularly among the police. Kaepernick’s protests were soon taken up by other players as well. Eventually, he left the 49ers to seek employment with other teams but found that none were interested. He has not played in the NFL for several seasons now.
Initially, the NFL was not supportive of his protests with the commissioner stating that he thought all players should stand for the anthem. In the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota earlier this year, however, the league has changed course and has taken many steps in the cause of Black Lives Matter.
Kaepernick, should, in theory, be praising these decisions on the part of the league. Sure, it’s later than he would like, but they appear to at last have come around to his way of thinking and have taken up the cause for which he sacrificed.
But as my old Philosophy professor used to say, nothing makes wreck of theory like reality. Rather than celebrating these developments, Kaepernick appears to be deriding them as propaganda. Taking to Twitter, the former Quarterback wrote, “While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community. Eric set 2 franchise records last year and is one of the best defensive players in the league.”
Eric Reid was one of the earliest players to join Kaepernick in his anthem protests when they played together for the 49ers. Additionally, he was supportive of his former teammate in a lawsuit against the NFL which alleged collusion in the league to keep him from playing. This lawsuit would eventually end in out-of-court settlement.
The idea of Eric Reid being blackballed by the league is new. Last season he played for the Carolina Panthers and had a really good season. Despite that, his contract was not renewed. At the time, nobody thought of this as being anything more or less than business as usual in the NFL. IT was attributed to the size of his contract and the need of the Panthers to make some cuts, an idea that was reinforced by the organization making similar cuts in several other areas as well.
Kaepernick appears to have gotten this idea from an article on Deadspin.com. This article, however, appears to be speculation and cites no sources to support its premise (a frustrating trend among journalists now days). And all of this is taking place when the NFL is embracing the cause for which they are allegedly blackballing Reid. It makes no sense.
It’s stories like this that remind of something radio host Dana Loesch frequently says, “Never bend a knee to the rage mob. Ever.”
The reason for this is two-fold. First, they’ll never be satisfied. Second, it will give them a sense of power which they will then, most assuredly, abuse. While Kaepernick hardly counts as a rage mob, he has been the figure head of one for a while now. And his actions this past weekend do, indeed, show the folly of bending a knee to the mob.