The saga of Colin Kaepernick remaining without an NFL team over two months after free agency began on March 9, 2017 continues. What is relevant for this commentary is that even more NFL executives have themselves explicitly stated that they are not signing Colin Kaepernick because of his national anthem protest. We already knew this, but it is significant that even more of these individuals now outright admit their bigotry. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report states that he had been contacted by several NFL executives who made clear, in no uncertain terms, that their blackballing of Kaepernick was motivated by Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. Period. Freeman went on to note the embarrassingly weak efforts made by NFL executives and pundits to push false narratives and other shiny object excuses for Kaepernick’s continued availability as a free agent.
Several articles have debunked these false narratives, leaving the national anthem protest as the most probable, and as noted by Freeman, the true reason for teams’ failure to even reach out to Kaepernick, let alone actually sign him. I frankly have more respect for these executives who have been truthful about their reasons for not hiring Kaepernick, as opposed to those hiding behind easily debunked rationale. It’s like Malcom X’s fox and wolf analogy. It is always preferable that those with ill will towards an individual or group be upfront about it, instead of smiling in someone’s face while waiting to plunge a knife into her or his back. Colin will probably not be a starting quarterback in many clubs, and that is fine. But to not even be considered as a backup given his resume is inexcusable. Executives should be honored to have Kaepernick, an accomplished player with great talent who is principled, dedicated to his community, and a team leader as a backup on their squad. But as racist NFL executives continue to do what comes naturally, it is encouraging that individuals like Mike Freeman and others are shining a light on this sports travesty.