Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been out of a job for months now. The independent news organization the Guardian is reporting that Kaepernick has filed a grievance under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. The NFL specifically prohibits collusion amongst executives, and Kaepernick’s legal team believes he has been treated unfairly due to his protests last season against police brutality and racial inequality. There is no doubt that Kaepernick is qualified for a job in the National Football League. In the wake of political turmoil, the protests Kaepernick began continue to gain momentum today, as other players in the league join the battle he started, while he fights to regain his NFL job.
Prior to the filing of the grievance, President Donald Trump took it upon himself to take Kaepernick’s actions out of context and to reframe the dialogue from police brutality and racial inequality to patriotism and respect for the national anthem. At a political rally for a GOP senate member, Trump suggesting in blunt, profane terms that anyone in the sports world who engaged in divergent behavior, out to be shown “off the field.” Following the president’s comments, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came out against Trump’s divisive comments, siding with the players’ rights to express themselves freely.
The corporate media, which covered Kaepernick’s accomplishments on the field, have mainly slandered him for his actions off the field. Corporate media that have been covering the story over the past year have failed to emphasize the alleged causes of the protests and instead have published and broadcast opinion pieces on patriotism or lack thereof.
Back in August, 2016, Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” While many were neutral at first, the ongoing developments have seen athletes, coaches, and fans supporting Kaepernick. Surely football is not the first activity that comes to mind when talking about social justice and human progress, but regardless of the means, the conversation needs to be had.
Source: Paul Greene and Joshua Gordon, “Will Colin Kaepernick’s Collusion Case Win Him a Place Back in the NFL?” The Guardian, October 16, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/16/colin-kaepernick-lawsuit-nfl-explained.
Student Researcher: Daniel Arredondo and Stephanie Rickher (Diablo Valley College)
Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)