The NFL cannot seem to untangle the Colin Kaepernick controversy.
The National Football League (NFL) might find themselves in a quandary and not realize it yet.
Allegedly, many White fans boycotted the 2016 NFL season because of quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the “Star Spangled Banner” in which many other athletes followed suit and protested as well.
During the national anthem, Kaepernick took a knee instead of standing.
Now, many fans of Kaepernick believe that the NFL is blackballing the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. As a result, many in the African-American community are planning a boycott of the NFL themselves, by not watching or attending 2017 NFL games.
“There is no doubt that Kaepernick is being blackballed by NFL owners for exercising his first amendment rights in a non-violent peaceful statement. Kaepernick was trying to draw attention to racial profiling, police abuse and the disproportionate amount of people of color being killed unjustly by law enforcement nationally.
“The NFL is a form of the modern-day plantation, most of the players are Black and the ownership is all White. They’re treating Kaepernick like a runaway slave, making him an example so other players get the message. Do not get too uppity or we will blackball you. The parallels are very much like slavery, except the players are million-dollar slaves under contract who have made billions for the NFL,” read a press release sent to Eurweb.com.
If the new boycott is successful, the NFL might find themselves in a catch-22. The NFL might regain conservative White viewers that they lost in 2016. But in the process the NFL could lose an equal amount of African-American fans for the 2017 season.
According to BlackAmericaWeb.com, “Civil rights activist Najee Ali one of the leading activists in Los Angeles and CEO of Project Islamic Hope—and Pastor K.W. Tullos, Western Regional Director of The National Action Network L.A. Chapter, Weller Street Baptist Church and a national coalition of civil rights and religious leaders—are calling for a boycott of the National Football League (NFL) until former San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick is signed to a NFL team.”
Many current NFL stars like Richard Sherman and Malcolm Jenkins are speaking out in favor of Kaepernick.
Some are saying that the NFL has a stay in your lane mentality when it comes to African-Americans speaking out against racial injustices.
“What’s it about?” Sherman asked. “It’s not about football or color. It’s about, ‘Boy, stay in your place.’ He played in Chip (Kelly)’s system last year and went 16-4 (TD-to-INT-ration) on a bad team. He played well because he’s a good football player. He may not be the best, but he’s better than a lot of these dudes starting.”
While many African-Americans believe that boycotting the games from a fan standpoint will be effective in getting Kaepernick back on the field, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes that the players should show NFL owners their power by sitting out the games themselves.
In an article in the Hollywood Reporter Abdul-Jabbar wrote, “NFL superstars must defend athletes like Colin through boycotts or other means of persuasion…Where is the support from the other players, especially White players who make up most of the top ten highest-paid players in the league?
“Take courage from the University of Missouri football team, who in 2015 showed the rest of the world how to raise their voices in support of others. After a series of racially motivated on-campus events that included racial slurs, a swastika made of feces and other hate crimes, graduate student Jonathan Butler went on a hunger strike in an effort to force the University of Missouri system president to resign. Thirty members of the football team refused to practice until Butler ate. Their coach, Gary Pinkel, supported their decision. Within 72 hours, the university president had resigned, and the team resumed playing.
If NFL stars take Abdul-Jabbar up on his suggestion of a boycott, the NFL might realize that their fans represent too wide a spectrum of social and political beliefs to appease one demographic without angering the other.