Being on an NFL team is always difficult especially because you never have job security. Colin Kaepernick knows this all too well. What originally began as a promising career has fizzled as fast as RGIII’s time with the Cleveland Browns.
When Kaepernick decided to protest the national anthem, a bigger spotlight went on him but not for the right reasons. We weren’t talking about his playing time but what he was doing before the game. Fans of the NFL and non-fans alike have shunned him, sent him death threats, assaulted and harassed him. Many players sided with him, either copying his gesture or making their own statement. Either way, it got the world talking about issues like Kaepernick hoped.
However, the move seemed to blackball him from the rest of the NFL. While some teams spoke about the player’s choice, others vehemently spoke about cutting them. Most recently, New York Giants’ co-owner, John Mara spoke about it. Reported by ESPN, Mara talked about receiving impassioned fanmail, “‘If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game.’ It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I’ve run into.” Interesting considering the Giants recent scandals involving domestic violence and off-the-field behavior.
People weren’t pleased with his statement but most of all, Torrey Smith. Smith who currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles is a former teammate of Kaepernick’s and he tweeted out his thoughts after.
Smith’s first tweet is something I’ve always thought about NFL fans. They are completely hypocritical with their morals and values. If they have a love for a player, he should get a second chance or if he didn’t commit a “heinous crime” in their opinion, he needs to be forgiven and everyone is being too harsh on him. Being from Pennsylvania, I see a lot of this when people refer to Ben Roethlisberger who settled with two women out of court but was accused of sexual assault. Even though we have nothing to prove his guilt or innocence, fans quickly defended him. Instead of seeing the women as victims, they saw him as a victim. That’s just an example but something fans have found excusable.
Then his second tweet is even better because it calls out the hypocrisy of fans, coaches, players and teams. People associate kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of disrespect and were quick to vilify Kap but didn’t want to address the idea. They don’t want to be called out on their racism or prejudice, they want to ignore that issue and focus on his “hatred” for America which wasn’t it at all.
Looking at it from the other side, they’re praising teams who have criminals on their roster. Players such as Junior Galette, Joe Mixon, Terrell Suggs and James Harrison have all been accused or committed domestic violence. Then there’s sexual assault which players like Ben Roethlisberger, Ahmad Brooks, Jameis Winston and Richie Incognito have been accused of doing in some capacity. All of the players listed above are currently on active NFL rosters while Kaepernick reminds a free agent.
Do we see the problem here? People care more about their country than a woman. It’s disgusting to say, but men are more worried about a man sitting during a song than a man touching or putting his hands on a woman without her consent. It’s sickening to think that the NFL will cut players for domestic violence or sexual assault only when there’s evidence people can throw in their face. If not, then good for you because you’ll likely be on an NFL roster.
Torrey Smith was right with what he said. If people put half their energy into hating Kap as they did about standing up for women, the NFL would look a lot different. Hopefully, Kap gets another chance and the NFL starts to take sexual assault and domestic violence seriously. I’m crossing my fingers.