Blackballed from the NFL for Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem

Rally for Colin Kaepernick planned for NYC on August 23

August 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Letter from a Reader:

Last football season, San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick (Kap) refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police murder and brutality against people of color. (See “Cheers to Colin Kaepernick—For Not Standing for National Anthem,” Kap started a movement of football players (professional, college and high school) and athletes in other sports in not standing or raising their fists during the national anthem. At one point, 30 players on 14 teams in the National Football League (NFL) took part in this protest.

After the season, Kap opted out of his contract and became a free agent where he could be signed by any team. Months have passed, the NFL is now into its preseason, but Kaepernick remains unsigned, despite the fact that many quarterbacks with less talent than Kap have been signed. It is clear that he is being blackballed from his profession due to his political stand and the fact that he righteously protested out of the bounds of “normal acceptability.”

A national movement has started to boycott and protest the NFL until Kaepernick is signed. On August 23 a rally for Kaepernick will be held at NFL headquarters in New York City. The rally has been endorsed by a broad range of people and organizations. Some of those are: AME Church, Color of Change; DeRay McKesson; IBW; Justice League NYC; LIVEFREE; NAACP; Opal Tometi, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement; Pastor Michael McBride; Rainbow Push Coalition; Rev. Jamal Bryant; Rev. Jesse Jackson; The Empowerment Movement; The People’s Consortium; and Women’s March. Spike Lee retweeted an ad for the event and said he supports Kaepernick and “His Stance On The Injustices In The USA.”

One of the endorsers, Pastor Jamal Bryant, wore Kap’s jersey to church services and told his congregation to sit during the national anthem, too.

Tamika Mallory, co-president of the Women’s March, said of her support for the protest: “Colin Kaepernick used his constitutional right to free speech and took a knee on behalf of black lives. When the NFL has a history of excusing players for egregious behaviors (including violence against women), it is clear team owners are making a statement when it comes to Kaepernick. We as consumers, viewers and people of good moral conscience must make one as well.”

Despite being vilified and receiving death threats, Kap never backed down from his protest and he continued to speak on political and social issues.

In response to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again,” Kaepernick said, “Well America has never been great for people of color...” About the debate between Clinton and Trump, Kap said, “Both are proven liars and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who’s less racist...You have Hillary, who’s called black teens or black kids ‘superpredators.’ You have Donald Trump, who’s openly racist.” On the 4th of July he tweeted out, “How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs?”

The anti-Kap forces are clearly led from the highest level of the government. Donald Trump, who is close friends with several NFL owners, said that the reason Kaepernick is being shunned by teams is because “NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump.” The right-wing American Family Association called Kap’s actions as being “against the law.” Ted Cruz said, “To all the athletes who have made millions in America’s freedom: stop insulting our flag, our nation, our heroes.”

None of this has deterred Kap from spending the off-season supporting social justice organizations, where he donated $750,000 to several organizations in and outside the U.S.

Support for Kap has been growing with a protest movement to boycott the NFL. This past week, several dozen people protested outside the Los Angeles Rams’ preseason game demanding that Kap be hired. A group, #StandingforKaepernick, has called for protests at the first regular season game played at every NFL stadium and a boycott of anything related to week one of the NFL unless Colin Kaepernick is added to an official NFL roster.

At the first preseason game this past week, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders sat during the national anthem, while Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles raised a clenched fist, continuing the protest that Kaepernick started.

Kevin Livingston, who Kaepernick helped in getting suits for job interviews to those who were formerly incarcerated, said , “Everyday folk just wanna protest for him.... He’s our modern day Muhammad Ali.”


Editors note: Stay tuned to for coverage of the August 23 rally and other developments around Colin Kaepernick.




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