Police-protesting, Castro-praising former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job — and he’s still in the news. The latest development in the Left’s attempt to force the NFL to get Kaepernick back in the game in solidarity with his social justice agenda involves the NAACP and pro-Kaepernick activists converging on the NFL headquarters. The civil rights group has inserted itself into the league’s business by trying to publicly pressure NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, suggesting that somehow the league is violating Kaepernick’s Constitutional right to be a massive distraction to the team, or something. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 supporters showed up at the HQ to protest his “blackballing.”
CBS Sports reports that NAACP interim president Derrick Johnson has “officially requested a formal meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss NFL players and their ability to exercise their First Amendment rights.” The NAACP’s letter to Goodell specifically cites the “blackballing” of Kaepernick by the teams, none of which have expressed interest in him since he decided to become a free agent at the end of last season. The decision came after Kaepernick helped lead the San Francisco 49ers to one of their worst seasons ever, winning only two games and a single home game all year, both tying franchise lows in the 16-game season.
The NAACP’s letter comes amid a concerted effort from Kaepernick supporters to pressure the league to sign the toxic QB despite evidence showing that his presence in the league hurt viewership and his presence on the field created huge distractions for the 49ers (just see Kaepernick’s appearance in Miami as an example).
Despite the NFL and teams being private organizations, the NAACP is suggesting that teams not wanting to deal with Kaepernick being on their roster is a violation of his Constitutional right to free expression. Kaepernick’s controversial and widely hated protests — which included several comments over the course of the year to the press condemning America as racist, describing the criminal justice system as plagued by systemic racism, and at one point praising Fidel Castro and his oppressive communist regime — had become weekly, if not daily, topics of discussion throughout the 2016 season.
Here’s an excerpt of the letter via CBS Sports:
Last season, Mr. Kaepernick chose to exercise his First Amendment rights by protesting the inequitable treatment of people of color in America. By quietly taking a knee during the national anthem, he was able to shine a light on the many injustices, particularly, the disproportionate occurrences of police misconduct toward communities of color. As outlined in your office’s public statement, this act of dissent is well within the National Football League’s stated bylaws. Yet, as the NFL season quickly approaches, Mr. Kaepernick has spent an unprecedented amount of time as a free agent, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is no sheer coincidence.
No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech — to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL’s own regulations.
So the question is, can NFL teams choose not to sign Kaepernick because he chose to use their games as a protest and thus alienated a large section of their fanbase? Of course they can — and they’d be wise to.
As for Kaepernick’s negative impact on the league, a July J.D. Power poll found that the number one reason fans stopped watching the NFL were the National Anthem protests. About a quarter (26%) of those who said they stopped watching last year cited the protests as their reason. So, yeah, Kaepernick’s bad for business. He’s also just bad, or at best, not very good. His team won two games last year. He’s a sub-par quarterback in a league in which the only way you’ve really got a chance is to have an elite QB. Why would teams bother signing a toxic guy who can’t play at a level to make them competitive? All the NFL teams have made clear that they couldn’t find a reason; in fact, anonymous coaches and league execs made exactly this “not worth the headache” argument in a recent ESPN article.
As for the concerted effort to get him signed, over 1,000 pro-Kaepernick activists converged on the NFL headquarters on Wednesday to protest teams not wanting to sign him; this comes on the heels of other pro-Kaepernick protests over the last few weeks. Along with the NAACP stepping in, if Kaepernick were to get signed, it would now absolutely be perceived as only happening because the league felt pressure to, not because he had actually earned it.
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