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Black Lives Matter Leader is Boycotting the NFL Over Colin Kaepernick

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Shaun King, NY Daily News – I’m an NFL fan. … I’m 37 years old and literally cannot remember a year in my life where I have not been a sports junkie.

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. …

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.

By way of preamble, I’m not much of a boycott guy. At least when it comes to giving up things I like. Believe me, I have my grudges against the NFL. And had battalions of disgruntled Patriots fans try to nominate me to lead a boycott during the Deflategate witch hunt. And while I admire anyone with the conviction to say they’re willing to trade Sundays in the Fall watching pro football for a life of drives in the country, apple-picking and leaf-peeping out of general principle, I simply don’t have the strength. I can barely summon the will to give up chips for Lent. A life without watching NFL football is a hard no.

That said, Shaun King is not wrong here. At least with the part about Colin Kaepernick getting blackballed. What Trump or LGBT football fans have to do with the issue is beyond me. But I guess they have everything to do with everything now. And I’m vehemently pro-standing for the National Anthem. But that’s me. I’m an extremist. Like I said before, I get offended when people don’t put their hands up during “Party in the U.S.A.” Still, King has one very good point. Kaepernick is a pariah.

In spite of what NFL teams are saying about Kaepernick wanting too much money or the idiotic rumors that they’re worried about his vegetarian diet, he’s unemployed because no one wants the pain in their collective ass that signing him would create. And Pete Carroll can fuck right off claiming they signed Austin Davis Izero snaps in 2016) instead of him because Kaepernick is too good to be a backup. I mean, that’s not even trying to come up with a plausible excuse.

Do I think Kaepernick is a good quarterback? Hell no. Do I think he’s good enough to be on somebody’s roster? At his age? As watered down as the QB position is right now? That’s not even a serious question. Consider this from Football Outsiders:

Kaepernick

What sets Kaepernick apart from the other 143? He got into politics. And the problem is he’s good enough to be in the NFL, but not good enough to bring that shitstorm with him.

Which is a point the boycotters are missing. The NFL doesn’t owe anyone a living. Free speech rights protect you from the government, not from your employer. And if you want to put your tongue on the frozen flag pole of controversy, you better be good enough not to get stuck. Your talent needs to turn a profit over all that negative blowback. Which is why Mel Gibson gets to make movies again, but Michael Richards sits home alone waiting for his Seinfeld royalty checks. And why Bill Maher’s career will roll on but Kathy Griffin’s best prospect is to write a memoir that ends up on the shelf a Buck-a-Book. If a Cam Newton or a Joe Flacco leads some principled protest, he’s under center for Carolina/Baltimore in Week 1. If a Colin Kaepernick does, he’s putting his career on the line. That’s how freedom works.

But still, I respect anyone who’ll cut football out of their life over this. I just don’t think you’ll have much company.

@jerrythornton1