In an opinion piece Tuesday, political writer and social justice activist Shaun King declared that he’s boycotting the NFL because of its “blatant bigotry and anti-blackness.” Though 70 percent of the players and an increasing number of coaches in the NFL are black, King has concluded that the league is openly racist and thus doesn’t deserve his patronage. The final nail in the coffin of King’s NFL fandom: the “pro-Trump owners” refuse to sign the sub-par former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
King begins the announcement of his very important personal boycott by noting that he really, really like sports, particularly the NFL. In other words, this is going to be really, really hard for him:
I’m an NFL fan. I watch the draft. I pay extra for the season pass on television so I can watch every single game. I follow the stats and standings and rankings religiously. It’s an escape for me. Day in and day out, as I fight against injustice, watching a great game allows me to decompress from the stress of the cases I’m working on or writing about. I’m 37 years old and literally cannot remember a year in my life where I have not been a sports junkie.
But because of the league’s treatment of the America-protesting, Fidel Castro-praising Kaepernick, whose team lost nearly every game he started last year, King can’t “in good conscience” patronize pro-football any longer:
But I won’t be watching the NFL this year. I can’t, in good conscience, support this league, with many of its pro-Trump owners, as it blacklists my friend and brother Colin Kaepernick for taking a silent, peaceful stance against injustice and police brutality in America. It’s disgusting and has absolutely nothing to do with football and everything to do with penalizing a brilliant young man for the principled stance he took last season.
I did not want to make this decision, but it became inevitable when the Seattle Seahawks, after flying Kaepernick across country to meet with the team, instead decided to sign Austin Davis as their backup quarterback. It’s a disgrace. I sincerely want to apologize for how hard I am about to go against Austin Davis, because it’s great that he got the job, but the man is a scrub.
A few thoughts on the “principled stance” Kaepernick took last season. As many people on Kaepernick’s side of the argument have also noted, Kaepernick conveniently became “principled” while his career was rapidly fading as the second-string quarterback in San Francisco. After being named starter because Blaine Gabbert was struggling, Kaepernick continued his “principled” protest of America and police officers amid the praise of President Obama, the Democratic Party, ESPN, TIME magazine and every other major left-leaning news organization in the country. At the end of the year, Kaepernick was rewarded for his protest by the 49ers, who gave him their “inspirational” award. But When Kaepernick no longer had a contract, he conveniently dropped his “principled stance” and announced he’d stop the distracting and disrespectful protests.
After King ripped Austin Davis, King tried to make the case that despite leading the 49ers to their worst season ever, Kaepernick was really good. “It’s racism. It’s bigotry. It’s discrimination. Period. It’s not football. Don’t call it football. If you call the decisions by 32 teams to not sign this man a football decision, you don’t know football and probably voted for Donald Trump,” writes King. Believing he had adequately defended his “friend and brother,” King condemned the NFL for its decision to bring back, wait for it, Hank Williams, Jr., who, according to King is an utter “bigot” and once “openly called Barack Obama Hitler, then a Muslim, and has gone on bigoted and homophobic rants since.”
It’s a spit in the face of every African-American fan, every LGBT fan, and everybody who despises bigotry and Islamophobia.
Hank Williams, Jr., and Austin Davis are employed right now and Colin Kaepernick isn’t. Shame on this league for following Trump’s lead in spirit, tone and now in actions. I’m appalled. As a lifelong fan, I’m deeply disappointed. What I do know is this — I can’t support this product.
So there you have it. Though 70 percent of NFL rosters are black, the whole league is “anti-black.” Or maybe it’s just that NFL teams simply don’t want to bother employing a sub-par quarterback who alienates a massive chunk of their audience by grandstanding and condemning the country and police officers?