Hypocrisy abounds with the NFL

Colin Kaepernick, a proven talented quarterback, cannot get a job in the National Football League (NFL). Even non-football fans know the reason is he chooses to exercise his First Amendment rights and kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick does this as he feels blacks are not getting fair treatment in the US and too many are being needlessly killed.

Yet, this protesting prevents NFL football teams from hiring him since his release from his previous team. You would think the man is radioactive. Many fans are stridently against him given a bent to jingoistic behavior. But, before you decide to do the same, let’s speak of three hypocrisies in the NFL leadership ranks.

First, the NFL likes to portray a patriotic theme, with heavy military showmanship. Looking under the covers, your tax dollars pay for that show. Our military pays the NFL for the privilege to advertise their service for employment recruiting purposes. I am not saying we should not be patriotic, but this payment for jingoistic advertising may be the key reason he is not being hired.

Second, Kaepernick is exercising his rights to free speech, which is preventing his being hired. That is more representative of our freedom than a national anthem. But, digging deeper, the NFL has little problem with employing convicted or suspended players who have committed crimes such as domestic violence, drug possession, drug distribution, theft or steroid use. Advocating for Black Lives Matter is perceived to be worse than these crimes.

Finally, it would be well within the rights of Kaepernick to protest the NFL for its role in hiding their concussion problem that led to brain injuries that may not appear until after the players stopped playing. This active and prolonged obfuscation of the truth caused even more players to get concussions and be exposed to brain injury. The NFL eventually settled the law suit against them for $1 Billion which went to impacted players. While this is a major step, the league still tries to avoid some painful truths.

When I see commentators and fans denigrate Kaepernick for exercising his rights, I think of these hypocrisies. The answer for his problem rests with the other players. Unless more than a few kneel out of respect for his rights and his legitimate protests, Β Kaepernick will not play again in the NFL. In the meantime, we fans need to understand why he is protesting and support his right to do so.




38 thoughts on “Hypocrisy abounds with the NFL

  1. I couldn’t agree more. As you know, I have blogged about this. It’s a clear case of hypocrisy and the fact that we pay for the jingoism that passes for patriotism at games turns one’s stomach.

    • Thanks Hugh. I remember your piece. I was spurred to action by piece on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight.” It spoke to the people the NFL was OK with hiring, but not the other two issues.

  2. I actually applauded Mr. Kaepernick for his decision not to stand, for his reasons are valid and I admired the courage it took for him to ‘speak out’ in a manner that spoke loudly. I am disgusted and saddened by those fans who speak against Kaepernick, and by the NFL for their hypocrisy and bigotry. It would seem that one can speak out for white supremacy with few consequences, but speaking out for those who are discriminated against is a death sentence. We, as a nation, need to do some deep thinking.

    • Jill, as you imply it takes more guts and leadership to go against the tide. The question that needs to be asked are why would he do this? The same folks that are criticizing him may include those who criticized the previous President for not wearing a flag pin. Both are mere symbols. What they stand for its far more important. Keith

      • Quite so. I was a rebel even in elementary school. I refused to place my hand over my heart for the ‘pledge of allegiance’, for it ended with ‘under God’, and I was already sensitive to religious prejudices, having been on the receiving end more than a few times. πŸ˜‰ Thus, I like people who stand up for their beliefs and convictions, as long as they do not harm others.

      • ‘Precocious’ might be putting it mildly, my friend πŸ˜€ I was expelled from kindergarten for beating up a kid who called me ‘four eyes’. And I had more than my share of scrapes until finally, somewhere in high school, I came to realize I could get further with words than fists. πŸ˜‰ See, I am no angel πŸ˜‡

      • Can identify with that Jill. I was picked on at school by a bully who called me ‘posh.’ He punched me in the arm and back. A rather shy child, I suddenly saw red at the injustice I experienced and boxed his ears for him. When he tried to pull away (I was holding his clothes), his sweater unravelled (rotten wool) and he broke down in tears. I said I was sorry. The crowd that had gathered yelling ‘fight, fight,’ and egging us on, dissipated. I was eleven years old and it was my first day of high school (secondary school). I learned pretty quickly about racism and inequality or just being plain different.
        We all need to stand up for what is right, even when it isn’t always in an acceptable manner!

      • I couldn’t agree more! And … it’s nice to meet a kindred spirit! Unfortunately, some of us have to learn about the dark side of human nature at a young age, as you and I did. We deal in whatever way we can. Today, I still fight the fight, but with words and ideas, thus I am able to stay out of jail πŸ™‚

      • Colette, you showed what often happens when you take on a bully. Sometimes, you have to take a stand. Even now, with words, we must take a stand when we see people being disenfranchised. Keith

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Last year, Colin Kaepernick, a player for the San Francisco 49ers, made a choice not to stand when the national anthem was played before the game. In so doing, he was standing by his convictions and I believe he showed courage and was using his voice to protest the string of recent killings of African-Americans by police (and others). Since then, he has been shunned by fans, fellow players and the NFL. My friend Keith has written an excellent post showing us just what a hypocrisy it is for the NFL to condemn Mr. Kaepernick. Even if you are not a football fan, as I am not, please take a moment to read this, for it is not about football, but about truth and justice. Thank you, Keith, for an excellent post and implied permission to share.

  4. I often feel that some people are only willing to support “freedom of speech” when they agree with what is being said. Then, all bets are off. Like Huckabee-Sanders saying that someone should be fired for saying mean things about the president, while I am sure she doesn’t feel the same way about Drumpf when he says similar things about, well, say the previous president.

    • Janis, it is a sad day indeed. You may recall on a different issue, the African-American baseball player, Curt Flood, was the first player in any major sport to test the free agency restrictions. He was vilified by management and the fans. Yet, his forward actions, changed the income levels of the players in a dramatic fashion. Kaepernick is being more straightforward and is being vilified. I am hopeful that more players join in, even though it is frightening. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: From an article in The Guardian about Fox not showing some additional black players protesting:

    “Did you notice that during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, Philadelphia Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins firmly raised his fist, as a symbolic gesture of black opposition to various forms of systemic oppression? No? Did you see Rodney McLeod and Chris Long alongside Jenkins in solidarity with the cause in which he is standing for? No? You are not alone. Viewers at home did not see any of this – not by accident, but by design.”

    This sounds like a collusive act by broadcasters to keep the NFL apple polished.

  6. Those who don’t support Mr Kaepernick on the grounds that he should show support for his country are hypocrites. How many people have not called the Government a few names when their taxes rise or a new piece of legislation is passed they don’t like.
    Mr. Kaepernick’s playing years will pass by wasted unless someone shows the courage to stand- or sit- with him in support There are enough black players out there to strike until a team takes him on. There are enough black supporters in the crowd to show their support and more than a few whites who have shown disgust at the killing of black youths without reason. Surely something could be done on Facebook and other social networks to co-ordinate some support.

    • Well said. I think with Fox throwing some gasoline on the fire by turning the cameras away, it just might lead to to more players taking part, black and white. Remember, we had some folks celebrate the non-tax paying rancher and family Clive Bundy. So, the message is it is OK for a white man to protest against his country with weapons, but not for a black football player for just taking a knee.

  7. Dear Keith,

    In my book, Colin Kaepernick’ is a hero as Mohammed Ali was when he stood up for what was right. When the dust settles, it is the NFL that will be shown to have acted shamefully.

    What has been lost in all the noise is why Colin is standing on principle even if it costs him his career.The following is from an August 22, 2017 CNN News report:

    The national anthem’s forgotten lyrics
    “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 about the American victory at the Battle of Fort McHenry. We only sing the first verse, but Key penned three more. This is the third verse:
    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a Country should leave us no more?
    Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    The mere mention of “slave” is not entirely remarkable; slavery was alive and well in the United States in 1814. Key himself owned slaves, was an anti-abolitionist and once called his African brethren “a distinct and inferior race of people.”
    Some interpretations of these lyrics contend Key was, in fact, taking pleasure in the deaths of freed black slaves who had fought with the British against the United States.
    In order to bolster their numbers, British forces offered slaves freedom in British territories in return for joining their cause. These black recruits formed the Colonial Marines and were looked down upon by people like Key, who saw their actions as treasonous.
    As an anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” has never been a unanimous fit. Since it was officially designated as the national anthem in 1931, Americans have debated the suitability of its militaristic lyrics and difficult tune. (Some have offered up “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” as alternatives.)
    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, I agree, although it took me a while to see the heroism of Ali, since I was so young. I also remember how John Carlos and Tommy Smith were condemned for the 1968 Olympics gold medal protest. They went and won, but wanted to make a statement like Kaepernick.

      I heard about the Key third verse today. The Black professor who spoke of it said you also have to recognize he helped free slaves and stood up on their behalf as an attorney and to block a lynching. So, his lyrics disturb but don’t fully define Key.


  8. If Black Lives matter, yes, why cannot the black/African-American players rise up, like SNCC or Black Panthers and protest by boycott? Makes ya’ kinda wonder about the money. Show me the money! So tough to stand up (or, kneel in this case) and be counted. Wasn’t there something from Sunday school, ma’am, about Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice sake, for…? If I recall, … Hey, I protested that horrible Domino-Effect Killing Field in SE Asia. Now I can wear shoes and shirts make in Ho Chi Minh City. How quickly we forget… Do you think in some lifetime the Wall will be scrubbed clean of names and dates as being politically incorrect? Just rantings of an old fart here.

    • Thanks for commenting. It does disappoint me that African-American star athletes have not been more vocal. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, eg have been disappointing in this regard. That is why Kaepernick should be applauded for his efforts.

      If you have time, read the referred post at the bottom called “The Best Teammate Ever,” about Bill Russell. In addition to his success on the court, he, Jim Brown and Ali were active in advocating for civil rights. Thanks again for stopping by. Always appreciate another old fart.

      • James, I added a Note to Readers comment below. It will be interesting to see if someone hires Kaepernick now. Have you been watching Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War?” It is fascinating as well as disturbing that our leaders lied so much to each other and to the American people. They knew the war was unwinnable in 1965 and still kept sending more troops. Keith

  9. Note to Readers: If you want to get first hand evidence of what the NFL did to discredit legitimate research into CTE – Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – watch either or both the movie “Concussion,” with Will Smith or the recent two part series on PBS’ “Frontline,” which corroborates and adds to the CTE story. These stories show why the NFL had to settle with the players association for $1 Billion for masking the truth.

  10. Does Kaepernick not voting and saying that he didn’t vote diminish any of his protest? If you care enough to protest on national TV wouldn’t you care enough to exercise your right and vote? Or choosing not to vote because it’s a no win system no matter what?

    Comparing him to Bill Russell, Ali, Jim Brown is waaaayyyy overstepping in my opinion but I don’t disagree with his right to voice his opinion and make a statement.

    Oh and is usually the case, the NFL’s handling was extremely short sighted, self interested, tone deaf, etc. Go figure. The dollar in the moment trumps everything else.

    • Jeremy, this is an excellent comment. I do believe one diminishes their protest by not voting. With that said, I recognize that too many Anericans feel their vote does not matter. But, as Obama says often, don’t get mad, vote.

      Russell, Brown and Ali used their voice consistently to speak out. With that said, I do applaud Kaepernick for his bravery and conviction on this. The NFL has handled these issues poorly. They have to be called out to act. Thanks for reading and offering your thoughts. Keith

  11. Note to Readers: It has been encouraging to see the players response to the latest denigrating and divisive comments by the White House incumbent. In Alabama Friday and again Saturday, Trump said NFL players should be yanked from the field and fired on the spot if they kneel during the national anthem. He also disinvited the basketball champions – the Golden State Warriors – from coming to the White House, after they said they were not coming.

    The NFL players will likely make a statement today. What is interesting the NFL is standing against Trump on this issue, which has two underlying themes. First, they want to support their players and citizens’ rights to protest, which stands taller than any flag could. Second, this is a business, so they have made a calculated decision that going against Trump’s divisiveness is the better course than siding with him on this issue. Question – will any offer Kaepernick a job, now?

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