by S.A. Prince
Photo Cred: Sports Illustrated
I’d like to preface this article by saying that it is written in the language of Power, not morality, nor kindness, and definitely not what we think and feel is just, but solely Power.
If I were advising an NFL team, I’d tell them that we’ve just about reached the optimum time period to sign free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, if you’ve been living under a rock, has been the centerpiece of a controversial issue that has shaken the NFL. He chose to do a kneeling protest (instead of the customary standing with your hand on your chest) during the national anthem of 49er games. This was done to bring attention to the issue of police brutality against Black people in America. Some people feel this was disrespectful to the country, and others are in agreement with the quarterback.
If you want to know more, feel free to Google his name. I will not expound on the background any further.
Fast forward to now: Kaepernick still doesn’t have a home on an NFL team, but his protest is gaining traction among other players in the NFL.
Recently, members of the Cleveland Browns, and stars on other NFL teams have kneeled during the anthem.
Also, one of the game’s biggest stars, Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers has made a statement on the Kaepernick and the protest. He says, “I think he should be on a roster right now. I think because of his protests, he’s not.”
Listen, all you NFL advisers out there…right now is the time to sign Kaepernick. Personally, I might wait to the end of week one. That gets you through the season opener. It could be beneficial to wait until mid-season when your team has a solid identity, but that could be too late. The kneeling protest will have legs under it by then.
You can take the legs from underneath it, and weaken the protest now, and all you have to do is sign Kaepernick.
“Cut off the head of the snake and the body will die.”
Colin Kaepernick is quickly turning into a martyr. Him being out of the league is inspiring others, and it will begin to usurp some of the controlling power you want to have as a NFL franchise. You want to avoid that at all costs. The inmates cannot be allowed to run the asylum, right?
Sign Kaepernick and deal a blow to the protests. You may deal with some blowback from your conservative fan base, but you win in the end.
Worst case scenario: Release a statement that supports police, the flag, and the anthem, but also says you stand by the rights of all people, and disagree with any form of racial prejudice. You can afford to make a middle of the road statement if you sign Kaepernick. The two will balance each other out. Kaep supporters will like that you signed him. Conservative fans will like that you stood up for the flag, anthem, and police.
Remember the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s? Remember how the country began to racially integrate? The policy of “Separate but Equal” was not working out, because although Blacks and Whites were separate, their infrastructures were certainly not equal.
As a result, Black people became a martyr in a sense. Their plight and fight for equality began to inspire people around the country and beyond. The government had to get out in front of this martyrdom, because it would have been a social scar and to be honest, bad for business.
So, the government integrated Blacks into White society. By doing this they took power away from the Civil Rights movement. Black society thought they got a win. In reality, it is the government that won.
“The House always wins.”
You can treat the Colin Kaepernick situation the same way. Here’s why…
First, he’s willing to come in as a back-up. People just want to see him in the league, not necessarily play. This will appease the people who want to boycott the NFL because he isn’t in it. You’ll bring them back into the fold.
Secondly, Kaepernick has said that he will not do the kneeling protest anymore. What does it look life if he were to come back and kneel again? That would hurt his image that he’s been building up.
But most importantly, if Kaepernick isn’t going to kneel, what are the psychological ramifications of other players seeing him not kneeling? Have you ever stopped to think about that? Players are kneeling, in part, because Kaepernick is a martyr. Don’t let him be a martyr anymore.
When players see him not kneeling, that will send a shockwave through the league. Here’s what will probably go through their mind: The guy who started the kneeling protest, who we have spoken out for saying he should be in the league and his protest respected, isn’t even protesting anymore.
Imagine the amount of confusion that would create. Some players would kneel, and some wouldn’t. The message of the protest would be lost, disparaged at the least.
Just bring Kaepernick back into the league, coach him up, and treat him like the Prodigal Son. Have him come out and reconfirm that he’s done with the kneeling protest, and wants to focus on both football and continuing his philanthropic efforts off the field.
What you don’t want is Kaepernick out of the league. Don’t allow the situation to snowball. Don’t let the protest (and boycott) get its legs underneath it. Don’t let Kaepernick be a martyr. Sign him and do it soon.
And hope he doesn’t say no.