The NFL Doesn’t Deserve Colin Kaepernick

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Colin Kaepernick has remained silent and steadfast despite not being inking by any NFL team to date.

For five months, speculation surrounding the non-signing of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has ranged from accusations of collusion among NFL owners to the quarterback’s decline over the last three seasons. However, recent comments from former NFL quarterback Michael Vick regarding Kaepernick’s appearance — most notably his Afro — and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who suggested Karpernick lighten his stance, focus more on resurrecting his NFL career and leave the protests to some one else set off a firestorm in the African-American community. The same African-American community which stood defiantly by Vick and Lewis in the wake of their career-altering run-ins with the law.

With the Miami Dolphins signing former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler out of retirement to a one-year deal after losing starter Ryan Tannehill for the season with a knee injury, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s time Colin Kaepernick leave the NFL to its on destructive self.

Ray Lewis’ has outdone himself serving as resistance to Colin Kaepernick’s cause.

“You don’t have to chain a broken mind.” – Carter G. Woodson

Everyone reaches a point in their live when it’s time to move on. Be it from a place of employment or a relationship, fake interest becomes overwhelming and walking away is definitely the best thing to do.

The Baltimore Ravens juggled the possibility of signing Kaepernick and it seems as if team Owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh (Kaepernick played for John’s brother Jim in San Francisco) appear to be at an impasse. Upon hearing starting quarterback Joe Flacco would be sidelined for an undetermined amount of time with a back injury, the Ravens signed indoor football league quarterback David Olson. Olson in his collegiate career at Stanford and Clemson threw a total of three passes with one completion.

It’s obvious NFL doesn’t want Colin Kaepernick and it’s clear Kaepernick has found his calling and doesn’t need the NFL.

For two days Ray Lewis was a guest on Fox Sport 1’s ‘Undisputed’ hosted by Skip Bayless and Lewis’ former teammate Shannon Sharpe. In that time, Lewis has openly displayed the disconnect many athletes and people (both Black and White) suffer from when it comes to why Kaepernick is doing what he’s doing.

Michael Vick suggested Kaepernick cut his hair to appear less theatening to NFL owners.

Former Falcons, Eagles and Steelers quarterback Michael Vick implied on ‘The Herd’ two weeks ago that Kaepernick’s road to NFL redemption should begin with a visit to the barber. The snicker you hear in the background is from Mark Schlereth, who later admitted he did so because he thought Vick was joking. Vick was dead-faced serious and went into justification for such a ridiculous statement:

“The first thing we got to get Colin to do is cut his hair,”. “I don’t think he should represent himself in that way in terms of the hairstyle. Just go clean-cut.”

Kaepernick hair has grown into a full-blown Afro.

“Perception and image is everything,” “I love the guy to death, but I want him to succeed on and off the field, and this has to be a start for him.”

Black athletes have converted to Islam, rocked Dashikis and embraced Black consciousness dating back to the 1960’s. Nearly fifty years later, the Afro has become a symbol of fear to white people?

Perception and image restoration were in order for Vick back in 2007 when he was convicted of organizing and operating a dog-fighting ring. Vick served 21 months in prison before resuming his career in 2009. Prior to appearing before a judge Vick traded in his cornrows for a dark Caesar style which, he still wears today. His new look did little to spare him a sentence many of us viewed as excessive.

Feeling the sting from supporters in his darkest moments as a man, Vick issued an apology to Kaepernick the following day. Unlike Lewis, there was a more sincere effort by Vick to lend his personal experience to lend a hand to Kaepernick, but his wording was way off.

The commentary of Vick and Lewis, leads one to believe Kaepernick was seeking reinstatement into the NFL after a lengthy suspension for a domestic dispute or DUI. What Kaepernick is on trial for is only permissible in the court of public opinion, punishable by being blacklisted by 32 NFL owners while Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith stand idly by.

Ray Lewis and Michael Vick returned to the NFL from incarceration mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually broken men. With nothing but football as their livelihood and essentially their rehabilitation both men were in need of image restoration. Lewis and Vick had no choice but to rebuild their images to appease NFL owners and the majority of fans, leaving them vulnerable.

For their fearless exploits on the field, Lewis and Vick were sinking fast as a result of Stockholm Syndrome.

There was no crime committed by Kaepernick. A peaceful protest on behalf of slain Black and Brown men and women by blue law enforcement was met with red-faced anger by 32 predominantly white NFL owners who have made it their mission to make an example of this young man.

Dating back to last season, Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett have been in support of Kaepernick.

More angering than thoughts of collusion towards Kaepernick is the lack of public support from his NFL brethren. In the weeks following his initial stance several players spoke out and even knelt or stood with raised fists as the Star-Spangled Banner played. While the off-season produced a smattering of supportive quotes, the overall backing of Kaepernick by NFL players, especially those who are African-American has been very disappointing.

Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman have been diligent in their support of Kaepernick months before team officials flirted with the idea of bringing him in as an insurance policy for starter Russell Wilson. Richard Sherman recently introduced his personal roll call of quarterbacks who shouldn’t be in an NFL uniform.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins — who has silently protested since Week 2 of last season has been outspoken of Kaepernick’s treatment while standing firm on his words, labeling NFL owners whose team could use a boost at the quarterback position as “cowards” for picking lesser talent to avoid the criticism that will come with signing a player who could significantly help their team. The comments came in response to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti who essentially believes signing Kaepernick would cost him more in advertising and fans than if the Ravens finished 5-11.

The blackballing of Colin Kaepernick by NFL owners is in full effect and no matter how much you hear about how something of this degree can’t be proven, you need to look no further than the results. It’s understood that no court or union can force the owners to sign Kaepernick despite their obvious intent to make an example of him. With all things being equal, are there really twenty quarterbacks better than Colin Kaepernick — let alone ninety-six? You’ll hear talk about his 2016 stats, his decline as a player on a team in a free fall since its Super Bowl run. and with all that being said, he could still take a couple of starting jobs. This harboring of trumped-up, (pun intended) fake patriotism towards disrespect of the flag and military service men and women and no interest about why people of color are being murdered by police with no repercussion explains much of what’s been wrong with race relations in this country for centuries.

Personally, I believe Colin Kaepernick has played his last down in the NFL. His refusal to shut up and play more than likely cost him his playing career and I’m willing to bet he’s more than okay with that. His season long protest followed by opting out of his last year with the San Francisco 49ers valued at $14 million speaks volumes. Had Kaepernick not protested and was cut by the 49ers at the end of last season, he would’ve more than likely signed elsewhere for a lesser amount. Looking at the bigger picture, Kaepernick walked away from any future earnings as an NFL player for a cause greater than himself. Those who have never taken risks will have a problem understanding his actions.

The Victory Formation is routinely used late in the game when the leading team has the game in hand. The quarterback moves in tight under the center and upon receiving the snap takes a knee as the clock runs out.

Colin Kaepernick lined up in the Victory Formation before any of us knew what was going on and after nearly a year of exhausting debates and speculation, it’s safe to say the clock has finally run out.

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