By Ken Reed
All of a sudden the NFL tells us they’ve seen the light. That their draconian reaction to players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and social injustice was all wrong. That they’re very sorry.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even appears to be trying to reinvent himself as a progressive thinker.
It’s all wonderful but until an NFL team signs Colin Kaepernick it’s nothing but a lot of nice words.
Some NFL teams have recently mentioned that they’ve thought about signing Kaepernick, as if to say, “Hey, we’re not one of those far-right MAGA franchises that hate Kaepernick and anyone else who thinks like him.”
Here’s the sad irony: Kaepernick was blackballed from the NFL for saying things that corporations around the country — including the NFL — are falling all over themselves to say in their Black Lives Matter statements the last couple weeks.
Several NFL teams have recently said they’re not opposed to signing Colin Kaepernick. Yet, nobody has actually done it.
The Seattle Seahawks invited Kaepernick to come workout in the spring of 2017 but passed on signing him.
“I regret that we weren’t the one way back when that just did it just to do it, even though I thought that it wasn’t the right fit necessarily for us at the time,” said a stumbling Seahawks coach Pete Carroll when asked about Kaepernick.
“The reason it wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with Russ (Wilson). … We’re kind of set up right now, so football-wise, it doesn’t seem to fit us like I said.”
Carroll is thrilled with his backup quarterback, Geno Smith, a high draft pick who’s been nothing but a journeyman backup in the league.
The Los Angeles Chargers’ head coach, Anthony Lynn, now says NFL teams “would be crazy” not to add Kaepernick.
“I haven’t spoken with Colin, not sure where he’s at as far as in his career, what he wants to do,” Lynn said.
“But Colin definitely fits the style of quarterback for the system that we’re going to be running. I’m very confident and happy with the three quarterbacks that I have, but you can never have too many people waiting on the runway.”
The Chargers parted ways with their long-time starting quarterback, Philip Rivers, in the offseason. The quarterbacks currently on their roster are Tyrod Taylor, who Buffalo got rid of, somebody named Easton Stick and rookie Justin Herbert. Certainly no room for a Super Bowl quarterback on that roster.
Los Angeles Raiders’ owner Mark Davis said he’s open to signing Kaepernick.
“Since 2017, when he became a free agent, I’ve told the coaches and general managers that if they want to hire Colin Kaepernick, they have my blessing,” Davis said.
Apparently, the Raiders’ coaches are happy with Derek Carr, who has struggled mightily for a couple years, Marcus Mariota, a complete bust with the Tennessee Titans and journeyman Nathan Peterman, who’s never done a thing in the NFL, at quarterback.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick who lost his job due to his silent, peaceful protest, has donated $1 million to community causes and charitable endeavors since his banishment from the NFL.
“I’m so proud of him,” said former Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, Kaepernick’s teammate and fraternity brother at the University of Nevada.
“If people look at the real issue, and look at what he’s doing in the community — the money he’s donating, the time he’s donating, the camps he’s putting on — they’d be like: “You know what? This dude’s really a stand-up guy.”
How can a league give multiple chances to a player like Richie Incognito and not sign someone like Colin Kaepernick?
Incognito has a long record of bad behavior and run-ins with the law. He was a key leader in a bullying scandal with the Miami Dolphins in 2013. He was arrested after threatening to shoot the employees at a funeral home. Not long after that incident the Raiders gave him a contract.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick, who doesn’t have a criminal record, or record of drug or domestic abuse, remains blackballed from the league for protesting racism, social injustice and police brutality toward minorities in this country. Kaepernick said at the time he had nothing against military soldiers or veterans, and in fact, said he was grateful for their service, including the military service of several family members. He said he was protesting because — in his view — the United States wasn’t living up to its values and ideals, such as “justice for all.” As we’ve seen many times since his kneeling protests began, it’s certainly hard to argue with that.
Goodell said this week that he supports and encourages teams to sign Kaepernick. Yet, nobody does.
As your mom told you, actions speak louder than words.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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