Colin Kaepernick can’t get a job in the NFL. But the officers who caused Elijah McClain’s death in Colorado are still employed.
by Alexis Sara Cobb, For New Pittsburgh Courier
A few days ago, on Aug. 24, I woke up to a video of the police shooting an unarmed Black man seven times as he opened the door of a parked vehicle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The seven shots in his back were supposed to kill him. But thankfully, he is still alive. His name? Jacob Blake. Unlike Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tamir Rice or Elijah McClain, Jacob Blake is still alive. Yet his story is one of tragedy.
Colin Kaepernick knelt on the ground in 2016 and asked us to recognize the brown and Black men and women who were enduring police brutality and racial injustice. He begged us to acknowledge their cries and to protest peacefully. When George Floyd was murdered at the hands of police officers a few months ago on May 25, his death sparked Black Lives Matter protests around the nation and world.
These many years later, the NFL has formally apologized for their response to the peaceful protests on their football fields. Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, issued a video statement on June 5, stating, “We were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier.”
He went on to state, “Without Black players, there would be no National Football League and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of Black players, coaches, fans, and staff.”
Oddly and purposefully, he did not specifically mention Colin Kaepernick in his apology.
Major corporations have openly stated that Black Lives Matter and that they stand against police brutality and racial injustice. Other sports organizations such as the NBA have incorporated Black Lives Matter into the fabric of their playoff uniforms. Even NASCAR has acknowledged that Black Lives Matter and have banned the confederate flag. But you know who sits at home, hoping for a phone call? Colin Kaepernick.
You see, everyone’s “Black Lives Matter” in the NFL except for Colin Kaepernick’s Black livelihood. He is still being made an example. He is still being punished for speaking out against police brutality and racial injustice. Is it a matter of talent? No. Is it a matter of work ethic? No. We, the fans and the general public, are just supposed to ignore him.
Erase him. Enjoy the NFL. Be happy that the NFL apologized and said, “We were wrong.”
In this Sept. 25, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Kaepernick has a new deal with Nike, even though the NFL does not want him. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Colin Kaepernick is a talented quarterback. Let’s not forget that he’s good at his job. He was a championship quarterback, a quarterback that led his San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl against Baltimore (the Ravens won). There is an assortment of quarterback non-talent who have started games since Kaepernick has been blackballed from the NFL. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen, Brock Osweiler, Mason Rudolph, Mitch Trubisky, and Will Grier, to name a few. It is unfair and it is unrighteous that Kaepernick sits at home.
Give him a tryout. Let him compete for a job. Why are we still pleading with the leaders of the NFL to give Colin Kaepernick a fair shot? Because they don’t want him in their league. They don’t want to have this man wearing their jerseys. He cost them money. He created trouble… or what John Lewis would say, “GOOD TROUBLE.”
So, Colin Kaepernick, we have not forgotten you. We know they wronged you. And each day that we see another incident of police brutality, we are reminded that you were a trailblazer. You shone a light in the midst of darkness even when it cost you your job, and evidently, your professional career. Just remember this: Colin Kaepernick, who works out every day, doesn’t have an NFL job. But the cops who unjustly caused Elijah McClain’s death in Colorado…well, they are still employed.