By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor -in-Chief
PHILADELPHIA (www.basnnewsroom.com) With less than three weeks before the National Football League’s exhibition season, the issue that will not go away continues to fester.
Knowing there are not (in my humble opinion) 32 quarterbacks better than Colin Kaepernick playing in the NFL right now, the reasons for keeping him out are as nebulous as his manhood, and as ridiculous as his Afro…
One aspect of this mess which has yet to be fully explored is why the Players’ Union – and its head – have not spoken up for Kaepernick; after all, he would still be a dues -paying member until he formerly files his retirement papers. I surely could be wrong, but in any union shop, whenever there an issue in-house one would go to their shop steward (in the NFL’s case, the team’s player representative) to present that player’s concerns…
If said action isn’t satisfactory, then it would be handled by the union’s head man, DeMaurice Smith – or you would think.
Speak the plain truth, Smith has outdone the great Ralph Ellison when it comes to being an Invisible Man on this subject. In an interview last August, with Dave Zirin, Smith spoke on the Knee – and its after-effects…
When asked why the union was quiet on Kaepernick’s stand against police violence, Smith’s response was ”
“First and foremost, our players are members of their community and obviously they have their own personal views, personal passions. I know Colin is a passionate individual. When I read [his statement], I thought, first and foremost, that protests and demonstrations have always been a part of what’s gone on throughout the history of sport.
Personally, I think the pregame celebration is important. I think honoring the flag is important. I know that one of the things that we always talk to our players about is, certainly, if you want to impact the political system, statements and things like this are important, but so is voting and so is getting people out to vote, regardless of your party affiliation.
Throughout our history, whether it’s through sit-ins or demonstrations, whether those occurred at lunch counters or coming out on the football field, at the end of the day, I think the way in which we’ve impacted the political system the most is making sure that not only individuals vote but making sure that everybody has that right to vote.”
What is not said there, however, is that the NFL for years operated as a 501 (c) (6) organization – a not-for-profit organization!
Consider all the Super Bowls, ad revenue, fantasy football, television revenue, seating licenses, luxury boxes – tax free!
Then throw in the pot $53 million paid by taxpayers for pregame spectacles via the Department of Defense over the years 2012-15, which was made public – but very quietly – by Arizona state senators John McCain and Jeff Flake in a hearing. We at BASN Newsroom were first to bring these facts to light publicly as I was interviewed by Pat Freeman (aka ‘The Mighty O’ba’) on his radio show, “The Number One Sports Show in the Nation at Buffalo’s WUFO 1080 AM “the Mix.”
These were not things the NFL wanted its fan base to know. Think about how many times during a game you see an ad spot for the Armed Services; if anything the NFL should be paying the Armed Forces for their support, given they weren’t paying any damn taxes and the Kaepernick situation brought that to light!
Soon after as this story picked up more heat, The Mouse (ESPN) parroted what I had mentioned on WUFO and the Internet news shows “Soul Tree Radio – in the Raw!! and The Gray Leopard Cove.”
Kaepernick’s beef wasn’t about voting – it was about police violence and he said nothing derogatory about fulfilling his responsibility as starting QB for the San Francisco 49ers; and many veterans showed greater support for Kaepernick than his union did in stating he was not disrespectful – rather he was embodying the reason they put on the uniform to serve…
To that end, the issue was brought up in the Zirin Interview, and Smith said, “Well, I’m not sure it is because it is you raising an issue that is important to you. And again, we’re reading and interpreting what he’s saying, but I think there is a very small step that always needs to be taken from raising the level of consciousness about a certain issue and that next small step that I think everyone has to take is: What am I going to do instead of just talking about it or raising awareness?”
It still didn’t answer how the union would go about defending and protecting Kaepernick’s job – Smith’s answer then to this was:
“Unfortunately, this is the part where you get the lawyer answer from me because it’s a complicated, fact-specific question of when things take place. We do have rules that govern what players can wear, what they can’t wear, what they can put on their shoes, what they can say, what they can’t say.
Demonstrations like this are not protected union activity, obviously. Some issues of freedom of expression are probably going to be OK. I can certainly think of some that would probably run afoul of NFL rules. I think it’s important not to get engaged in sort of a blanket statement about what’s permissible and what’s not.
I do think that the real issue is what’s the conversation that we should be having with a group of players who have a tremendous platform and can have an ability to impact the political system. It’s a certain level of gross naïveté to believe that you are somehow insulated from what’s going on around us, politically.
At its most crass level, we all know and the players know that the NFL spends a lot of money on public policy and lobbying and things like PACs, and that’s just the reality of where we live and the business that we’re in. The players made a decision to create a PAC as well.
But I do think that the real issue has to be the conversation that I would want to have with our players: that in America where people have fought so hard for the right to vote, how do we prevent the creep back on that right, whether it is related to gender, sex, race, previous conditions. And those are real, tough conversations and we don’t shy away from those in our locker room.”
I would say you most certainly do, Mr. Smith. Your response ignites the issue of Kaepernick now being blacklisted – not just for being, in some minds, a shit-disturber, but a whistle blower as well.
No matter how badly the attempt to spin, the reality of what the NFL really is will bite them in the ass if this effort to stifle Kaepernick’s football career continues.
Mr. Smith wants to skirt this by talking about raising awareness? How aware were you when Josh Brown was beating the shit out of his old lady? How aware were you when Riley Cooper’s redneck ass was screaming, “I’ll fight all you NIGGERS!” and getting a tryout with Tampa Bay this year? (I’ll bet the crew at “Hard Knocks’ will get a hard on with that added to the story line!)
Johnny Manziel can beat up women and stay drunk, but he’ll get a look before a man with no criminal record and stats Manziel can’t even dream of in his insipid existence as a putrid human being and not even a mediocre QB – how’s that for “fact specific?”
The character assassination of Colin Kaepernick, failed as it was by lackeys like Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and others reminds us that such actions were done at the team owners’ bidding.
Keeping this 100 percent on point, the sales of his jerseys, his deportment in the face of endless inane insights which have nothing to do with his production on the field increased Kaep’s whistle blower status as it became clearer no one would touch him.
His last year stats of 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions (among the top in TD/INT ratio) in half a season as a starter were minimized by media myrmidons who squealed like bitches for all to hear that Kaepernick couldn’t play – with little or no rebuttal (Mr. Shannon Sharpe and us notwithstanding).
Since that interview, one would be hard – pressed to find anything in which Smith or the union defends or supports Kaepernick since. Such actions may have elevated Blaine Gabbert’s scrub ass to starter instead of Kaepernick when the season began. When Gabbert underachieved (as has been his pedigree since entering the League), that – and the groundswell sale of #7 49er jerseys forced management’s hand…
Since that August interview, not a peep about what’s being done to Kaepernick has come from Smith or any union official; and so we understand each other, the NFL does not owe you a job, no matter how qualified you may be.
I know Colin Kaepernick is aware of that, but being at peace with whatever the outcome doesn’t change an ugly reality many fans cannot look away from anymore.
When you sit down to the game, ready to be entertained with the beer and the ‘sammich’ remember that the playing field is the players’ workplace; and like any other workplace, the employees are subject to the same B.S. and politics as everywhere else!
You see people not as qualified elevated to positions they are unable to handle, nepotism, cronyism – and apologists playing C.Y.A. in justifying the team’s actions; the only ‘entertainment’ you’re getting – is the notion you’re watching some more authentic than pro wrestling…when you’re not.
Wrestling fans, to a fault, are far more intelligent than most ‘sports’ fans because they know exactly what they are paying for, they don’t mind and they enjoy themselves knowing the results have been decided before they sit down.
Given the diluted product NFL teams are putting out nowadays, I can make an argument that there ain’t much difference between these two elements of ‘sports entertainment.’
The NFL is telling you – their approval with substance abusers, woman beaters, inferior talent ready to tweak the interest of clueless fans who don’t want politics with their football trumps an upright young Black man who has merely reacted to the same things many of us still see now…
Point blank – what’cha gonna do when resident redneck Hank Williams Jr. screams, “ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOOOOTTTBBAAAALLLLLL?”
If Colin Kaepernick is not on an NFL roster, just say no.
always outnumbered, never outgunned.