All eyes are on the NFL in this pivotal moment in history. People around the world have been cautiously optimistic, waiting to hear the NFL’s response in the wake of the chaos overtaking the world. Would the NFL finally listen to its players?
Then came NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s admission. It stated, in part:
“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black people. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
Peacefully protest? You mean like Colin Kaepernick did when he brought awareness to social injustice and police brutality four years ago?
On one hand, the first step to change is acknowledging the need for it, so I certainly commend the commissioner in that regard. But what now? Specifically, what now for the person who has been ostracized for standing up for the very issues you’re apologetic for not listening to?
Let me offer a suggestion… or three: Apologize specifically to him, SAY HIS NAME, and give him the opportunity to earn his livelihood back. Supporting a team's decision to potentially sign him is a start.
If that happens, here are my three best fits for Kaepernick on and off the field:
Seattle Seahawks. Off the field, the city of Seattle has always been on the socially progressive side. Head coach Pete Carroll has been the most outspoken coach regarding Kaepernick in recent days, even saying he regretted not signing him in 2017. He also mentioned that if anything happened to starting quarterback Russell Wilson, he would not hesitate to sign Kaepernick. Their current back-up QB is Geno Smith. Enough said.
Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore was reportedly on the brink of signing him in 2017. Ray Lewis had been vocal about supporting the cause Kaepernick was fighting for but, like a few other Black players, disagreed with the execution of it. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti reportedly called Lewis and asked if they should sign him. Kaepernick also had an advocate in the building in his former offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Shortly thereafter, Kaepernick’s girlfriend tweeted out a picture referencing a scene from Django Unchained in regards to Lewis and Bisciotti. The potential deal was off the table. However, Baltimore’s system fits Kaepernick’s skill set perfectly and with Lamar Jackson’s playing style, he could see action if he were to win the back-up job.
San Francisco 49ers: In a twist of irony, this could be a fit for a couple reasons. The city of San Francisco has long championed the issue of equality. Jed York has been one of the vocal owners on issues regarding social justice and equality. San Francisco currently doesn’t have an established back-up and Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in football. None of the QBs on the roster have the skill set Kaepernick possesses.
It’s amazing to see the NFL and respective owners commit millions of dollars toward the cause of social justice. However, it’s ironic that the owners are willing to spend millions to commit to the cause that was highlighted by Kaepernick, but are still reluctant to sign the very player who was courageous enough to risk his livelihood to start the uncomfortable but necessary conversation—who did so in the face of those unwilling to listen, as many attempted to distort the narrative of his message while turning a nation against him.
Kaepernick sacrificed the prime of his career while also being publicly scrutinized by members of his own family. So when you mention the change that is taking place not only in our world but in the NFL, be sure to SAY HIS NAME. When you don’t mention their names, the fight for what’s right lives on, but it’s easier to forget the icon. Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and others—don’t stop saying their names. While the world is watching, say their names.
In the NFL world, if Goodell says Kaepernick’s name and apologizes, Kaepernick can finally move from retribution to redemption.
- Dec 01, 2022
- Nov 30, 2022