Before you call me a coon, a sellout, or an Uncle Tom, I’d like for you to read my thoughts with an open mind. If we as a people are going to boycott any businesses, we must ask ourselves why, and then if we find it appropriate to continue with our desire to withdraw our support, we must develop a plan and stick to it until we achieve the results we are looking for. I find the current boycott of the NFL to be troublesome and here’s why…
First, why did Kaepernick launch his protest during a meaningless preseason game instead of the Super Bowl against the Ravens a few years ago? In football, the Super Bowl is the biggest stage there is and the best time to get your point across. Hence, the reason why people pay millions of dollars for 15 – 30 second commercials. Even people who don’t watch football, watch the Super Bowl, or at least attend a Super Bowl Party. Sounds like a great time to make a statement of this magnitude. Don’t believe me? Why are people still talking about seeing Janet Jackson’s boob during one of the halftime shows? Other than coaches and rookies trying to make an NFL squad, who cares about the preseason?
Also, either people don’t know or don’t want to know the truth. The summer Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem, he was on his way out of San Francisco and possibly the NFL, anyway. What’s constantly left out of media coverage, blogs, and op-eds is the fact that the 49ers were in trade talks with the Jets, Browns, and Broncos, months before this controversy began in 2016. The Jets and Browns backed out of talks early that offseason and then the Broncos drafted a quarterback that April, leaving Kaepernick’s career in danger. Where was he going if his current team was ready to move on and no one else was interested?
Kaepernick’s story reminds me of the athletes who want to speak up or suddenly do what’s right when they have nowhere else to go. For example, remember a few years ago when Rashad McCants came out blasting UNC for the education he never received and how he was allowed to do unethical things like skip classes and assignments, yet still make the Dean’s list? It sounds great and noble of him until you realize he only did it after his NBA career was a bust.
To me, Colin Kaepernick did the same thing. We didn’t hear anything about his stance on the way black people have been treated in this country until his NFL career was in jeopardy. Why is that?
Second, Craig Hodges was blackballed following the 1992 NBA season where the Chicago Bulls had just won their second consecutive championship. In usual fashion, the team was invited to the White House, and Hodges wore a dashiki and handed, then president, George Bush, Sr., a note asking him to do more about the injustices African Americans were facing in this country. He never played professional basketball again. That was 25 years ago. Have you heard of an NBA boycott?
Third, the NBA, the NFL, and the NCAA have been exploiting black male athletes for years. Why haven’t we boycotted the leagues based on these practices? Why didn’t we boycott the NFL or the NCAA after both allowed Dexter Manley to make it all the way into a Redskins uniform without being able to read, proficiently?
Yes, jumping on the Kaepernick bandwagon sounds good, but it also sounds like a distraction from bigger issues.
We’ve had plenty of reasons to abandon our allegiance to professional sports, especially football and basketball, yet we chose not to. If Kaepernick is given another shot in the NFL, then what? Do we just ignore the other reasons we have for boycotting?
I’m not saying anyone should or shouldn’t but at least know why you’re doing it, have all the facts, and be consistent in your efforts to promote change.