By Najee Ali
The fight for justice for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues. It was a year ago that his writer called for a boycott of the NFL and led protests outside every Los Angeles Rams home games in response to Kaepernick being blackballed by the NFL owners.
A year later nothing has changed. If anything, the Kaepernick controversy has gotten worse. Recent comments made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen, saying last week that all their players must stand for the anthem and any player who takes a knee and doesn’t toe the line during the national anthem won’t be playing for the Dallas Cowboys anymore.
So, let me get this straight. Cowboys players can still be on the team if they use illegal drugs repeatedly, they can beat up on women, and have a DUI, but if you take a knee to protest racial injustice and police killings of unarmed black people, you’re off the team?
The anthem statement by Jones and his son is one of the most ludicrous comments I’ve ever heard in my life.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had the audacity to follow up on Jones’ comments with his own statement to the media stating, “I never protest. I never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so. The game of football has always brought me such peace and I think it does the same for a lot of people. A lot of people playing the game, a lot of people watching the game, a lot of people who have any impact on the game — so when you bring such controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game, it takes away. It takes away from that, it takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people.”
Prescott has the right to his opinion, but it doesn’t mean he’s right. He sounds like a traitor to his race. He sounds like he has a slave mentality and wants to please his owner, Massa Jones of the Cowboys.
Black athletes have always used their sports platform to draw attention to social justice issues. Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1968 Olympics, boxer Muhammad Ali and former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul Rauf are just a few of the athletes over the decades who have taken a public stance to protest injustice. Historically, white people in power have always used other black athletes to speak out against black people who were advocating for other black people. And those black athletes who were dumb enough to let themselves be used by white people all faded to oblivion.
The facts are Kaepernick took a stand for black women, children and men who were and are still being killed unjustly by police nationwide. Kaepernick gave up his plate and I didn’t hear him ask Prescott to give up his.
Courage isn’t for everyone. I get that.
This is about police brutality and the NFL blackballing a man because he kneeled to bring attention to the police murders of people of color.
I could care less about the NFL, the Cowboys or their racist owners. Kaepernick put millions of dollars on the line and sacrificed his career so people of color could live in peace, without the threat of state-sanctioned murder. When the NFL or any corporation punishes a man for standing against police brutality then that means the league and that company or corporation is in favor and a supporter of police brutality.
We can’t give our money to a business that doesn’t support black and brown lives and our issues? What black people need to understand is Kaepernick is in a position like Rosa Parks faced in what helped give birth to the civil rights movement.
The reality is this isn’t about Kaepernick. This is about the unjust police murders of black people, racial profiling, police abuse and the violation of our civil rights that Kaepernick put into the national spotlight. This is about Ezell Ford, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and other unarmed black men who were gunned down by police and a wanna-be cop.
This is about Freddy Grey and corrupt police planting evidence on black people. This is about Oscar Grant and Fruitvale Station. This is about the New York Giants owner who said he was concerned about the backlash to signing Kaepernick. But you and I should be concerned about being the next Eric Garner.
The reality is that I was at the forefront of the NFL protests in Los Angeles and the call for a boycott of the NFL, not only because its refusal to sign Kaepernick. Our call for an NFL boycott was made because of the league’s silence and the silencing of their players on the injustices and police killings committed against people of color. That’s what this is about. That’s what it has always been about.
Kaepernick exposed the lies and hypocrisy of Americans who believe in free speech but only for white men and black people who prove that many of us are woke only in our opinions but not in our actions. That’s why it’s time to draw a line in the sand.
Do you love the NFL and its racist owners? Or do you love black people more?
Kaepernick proved he loves his people. And is still being blackballed by the NFL.
How can any black person in their right mind continue to support the NFL, the Cowboys and Prescott? Every time you wear the Cowboys caps and jerseys you might as well be wearing a KKK white sheet.
The Cowboys owners don’t care about black lives and they are saying it to your face. They essentially told all their players you better stand up for the anthem or you won’t be on this team. I have made my choice. I won’t watch an NFL game this year, either.
Nia Wilson, Anthony A.J. Weber, Fred Taft, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Tyisha Miller, Ezell Ford, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless other brother and sisters killed unjustly won’t watch a game or anything else ever.
So, I’m still with Kap. And not just in words but in action. So once again my call is for another protest against NFL racism and in support of Kaepernick.
The protest will be at the L. A. Rams and Oakland Raiders game Aug. 18 outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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