Inside Conditions: Eric Mangini and Colin Kaepernick — some snitches ‘give’ stitches

There are many ways that a person or group of people can be blacklisted for behavior contrary to a particular segment of society, sect, or religion. If you practice Catholicism, you can be excommunicated for violating the dogma of that religion. If you are Amish, you may be shunned for disobeying their doctrine. There are various reasons that individuals may be pushed out of a certain group or ignored altogether. For example, let’s peek at the NFL and identify a few reasons, justifiable or not, when an individual may be shunned when it comes to being employed by the league.

Ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was blacklisted and continues to be banned because of his focus on negative racial and economic inequality issues that exist in the National Football League.

Former NY Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini was never forced to pay his dues as a player. Mangini is quoted from his bio posted by as saying: “I started as a ball boy in Cleveland, that was how I got into the league. I ended up going to PR and then was a coaching assistant. When Bill Belichick was let go and the team was moved to Baltimore, I stayed on as an offensive assistant with Ted Marchibroda. Then, I moved to the Jets as a defensive assistant on the secondary with Belichick and Parcells. Next, I moved to New England as the DBs coach and then DC. I then got the opportunity to be the HC for the Jets and then the Browns.”

How many Black youths started as ball boys and ended up as head coaches in the NFL? I have taken out my not so fine-toothed “Afrocomb” to discover any similar opportunities that have been made available to Black youths coming from similar “salt of the earth” beginnings but so far, I have not had any luck. Over the past few decades, Eric Mangini supposedly exemplified the mantra of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” and achieving the American dream. But Eric Mangini became the NFL version of “John the Revelator” who wrote the “Book of the Seven Seals.” By writing “The Gospel according to Mangini,” the NFL may have decided to seal his fate forever.

Mangini evolved from being the “golden boy” and became the “golden shower boy.” Why? Well, because he violated the “culture of omerta” and exposed the unfair competition practices being used by his former team, the New England Patriots: illegally recording the offensive and defensive signals of the opposition. It has been alleged that if the New England Patriots had not continued to illegally film the competition signals from the sidelines after the New York Jets hired Eric Mangini as the head coach, it is quite possible that Mangini would not have exposed the Patriots’ misdeeds to the world. However, after the illicit tapes allegedly disappeared from the NFL office, if not for Eric Mangini, who was a living witness, the entire “Spygate” incident could have been squashed.

In Mangini’s case, the snitch did receive a stitch or two, and one of the stitches was a good and thorough blacklisting.

On the other hand, Colin Kaepernick, who is Black, was not only blacklisted but he was socially, economically, mentally, and culturally brutalized. Through it all, he has remained a beacon that continues to be one of the lights at the end of the tunnel of racism. Taking a knee also showed the world what people of color have always known: that we have always been handicapped, forced to operate on one leg and knee, while the remainder of the world had the luxury and balance of two legs.

Although he has been ostracized, Colin Kaepernick has managed to dish out a bit of punishment as well. Contrary to popular belief, a few snitches may dole out a few stitches on their own. Kaepernick’s power of discernment alerted him to the darkness of racism, early and often in his life. He did not have the power to take a knee when he was forced to deal with racially insensitive adoptive parents as society and the welfare system willingly turned a blind eye.

In an interview posted on on March 10, 2023, by Matt Foster, Kaepernick said: “I know my parents loved me, but there were still very problematic things that I went through. I think it was important to show that, no, this can happen in your home, and how you move forward collectively while addressing the racism that is being perpetuated.”

Kaepernick revealed that when he had cornrows as a child, his mother said, “Your hair is not professional, you look like a little thug.” The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback added: “Those become spaces where it’s like, ‘How do I navigate this situation now?’ But it also has informed why I have my hair long today.”

From birth, Eric Mangini was not forced to overcome racial barriers at home or in the workplace and was allowed to excel and prosper. Meanwhile, society moans, groans, and whines about the “Rooney Rule” being a tool of “Affirmative Action.” After centuries of racial bias, the Rooney Rule or any other rule cannot indirectly or directly begin to “level” the playing field because we must daily climb a “mountain” of racism. What about the sledgehammer in the toolbox of “confirmative action?” “Confirmative action” basically confirms that White candidates will always be hired first, whether it is in the sports world or the corporate arena. Be very much aware, my friends: everyone may not choose to take a knee because if they are like me, when they do take a knee, they may be unable to get back up.



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