Colin Kaepernick's been getting support from other NFL athletes all summer. Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks told the media, flat out, there were worse quarterbacks grabbing gigs on NFL rosters that summer. Then he named them: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallet, Blake Bortles, Jared Goff, and an implied Geno Smith. He's not the only one that's been coming to Kaepernick's aid, either.
Recently, NYPD officers of color staged a protest on the behalf of Kaepernick. As an idea of how rare such a display is, just last year the NYPD turned their backs on their newly minted Mayor, Bill DeBlasio, over his comments concerning officers treatment of blacks and hispanics.
On August 23, Complex reported that a throng of supporters gathered outside NFL headquarters in New York City to rally for Kaepernick. The crowd showed variation, too. His Kappa Alpha Psi brothers turned out for him with jerseys on. Men and women of all shades and nationalities stood and marched for what the quarterback kneeled for: a fairer, more inclusive America. One that, now, after Charlottesville, after comments from President Donald Trump equating white supremacists to those denouncing them, stands on the precipice of an uncertain present. Will the United States, home-of-the-brave, be brave enough to trade its checkered past for the dream of an egalitarian future?
All this has to be weighing on the mind of the stoic Roger Goodell. The NFL commissioner has been under heavy scrutiny for his handling of the swirling allegations and PR messes that come with managing richly paid Black athletes. He's passed this consternation to the stable of NFL owners— the men who control the fates of a league that has made it its business to robe itself in Americana, even as it chews up and spits out Black men at an astonishing rate. The damage?
A New York Times piece had this astonishing tidbit as its deck: "A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players — and 110 were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head." At the same time, pop warner participation is plummeting around the nation.
But instead of facing these times head on, the league seems to be doubling down on its ignore-and-carry-on formula. Roger Goodell has said nary a word. Owners have blamed Kaepernick. Talking heads like Ray Lewis and the legendary Jim Brown have come down on the side of tradition, despite their violent pasts burning a hole into Twitter's collective bullshit detector.
All this and Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback that threw 16 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions on a bad team, continues to go jobless. Funny how racism works.