Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL for three seasons now. Joe Lockhart, former league executive, has finally confirmed why:
His kneeling protests during the national anthem were “controversial, and, therefore, bad for business.”
Kaepernick was (and still is) protesting police brutality against black people and people of color, which has only escalated since the death of George Floyd this week in Minneapolis. Lockhart stated that the Minnesota Vikings tried to sign Kaepernick and recently after he had been shut out by the rest of the league.
The NFL has always been on the defensive end of the spectrum whenever Kaepernick is mentioned. Spokesman Mike McCarthy responded to Lockhart’s column by stating the following —
“Colin is a free agent,” McCarthy said, via ProFootballTalk. “Clubs may sign him if they choose to do so.”
Such a strange comment to come out years later. Additionally, the NFL’s VP of social responsibility, Anna Isaacson, gave an update to owners and reporters this week on the progress of the league’s social justice initiative.
“Today we covered several updates on our Inspire Change social justice initiative. Firstly, it’s important to know this work remains at the top of our priority list and has been a continued focus even throughout the offseason. Recent events across the country make it even clearer how much more work needs to be done. We recently announced we surpassed $44 million in funding along with a new set of national grants and grant renewals to non-profit organizations that really do the real work on the ground in our key focus areas of education, economic advancements, community and police relations and criminal justice reform. The $44 million also includes more than 750 matching grants on behalf of players and legends who have personally supported local, social justice organizations, for more than 360 distinct organizations that have served more than 600,000 people in just the last two years alone.”
The NFL put out a statement this week in response to George Floyd’s death, which has sparked outrage throughout the country, as it directly contradicts their decision to silently remove Colin from football.
So…was Kaepernick really blackballed from the league because he was “bad for business”? With how little honesty the NFL has shown in its dealings with the former QB, it doesn’t seem like they will ever give a straight answer.