The more time that passes with no news of Colin Kaepernick joining a new team since his departure from the 49ners in March, the more fans believe the NFL is blacklisting the athlete for his political beliefs. In an attempt to dispel the rumors, the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the claims on Thursday (Aug. 3).
“No, teams make decisions (based) on what’s in the best interest of their team and they make those decisions individually,” Goodell said from the Denver Broncos’ indoor practice facility. ABC News reports Kaepernick parted ways with the 49ners in March with no offers from other teams until recently. Reports indicate the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens have shared interest in the 29-year-old. The player took a stand against police brutality of people of color by refusing to to chant the national anthem. Those against Kaepernick’s views have boycotted the NFL and thrown racist insults at the athlete online.
When asked about Kaepernick’s talent over his activism, Goodell played it safe. “There are other people who make those evaluations and that’s a decision that those teams all make individually,” Goodell said. “It’s not one that I would make as a commissioner.”
Goodell also slammed claims that Kaepernick’s political stance played a part in declining ratings. Explaining that viewership has changed due to steaming and other practices, he also asked players to be responsible in their communities.
“I think they are leaders in their communities, I think they have a voice and they should express it. And I think it’s important for them to do it responsibly,” he said.
Kaepernick has found support from his football brethren like Richard Sherman. The Seahawks cornerback expressed his disappointment in Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti’s comments on Kaepernick’s political beliefs. Deadspin reports Steve Bisciotti told fans Sunday (Jul. 30) he was concerned if he signed Kaepernick, his political stance would bring problems to the team.
“For you to say you have to check with sponsors and fans because this guy took a knee and made a statement?” Sherman said. “Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now – whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible – have jobs. You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.”
Activist Kevin Powell also shared similar thoughts on Kaepernick’s legacy.
History will prove Colin Kaepernick right just like it did Muhammad Ali and Paul Robeson. Those who oppose and mock him are on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of humanity. The National Football League is a greedy disgrace. Nonstop violence, concussions and head traumas everywhere, ex-players committing suicide due to head injuries, worst contracts of any major sports league, yet they are afraid of what Colin represents. There are players, coaches, executives, and owners who have engaged in all kinds of despicable and violent behavior. Yet they all have jobs, careers, and Colin does not. Colin’s “crime?” A silent and nonviolent protest against police brutality and racial profiling. The message is it is okay for football players and football culture to beat women, kills dogs, participate in the shooting and murder of folks, but God forbid you take a stand for justice in the realest sense. Freedom ain’t free and democracy just does not happen, people who have courage make it happen. And it is an utter disgrace, too, to see former players like Ray Lewis and Michael Vick say publicly that Colin needs to cut his hair, make it neater, to keep his politics private. Cowards are cowards every single day of the week, no matter how tough they claim to be on a sports stage. And Black self-hatred, an offshoot of American racism, is mad real. We cannot claim to be free if we simply say what we think some want us to say, or what they tell us to say. That is called slavery, y’all, mental or otherwise.
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Nonetheless, fans are still hoping to see the player on the field this fall.