The crowdsourcing effort by teams like the Ravens to determine whether Colin Kaepernick should have a job now has another factor to consider: Fans who believe Kaepernick is being unfairly shunned may shun pro football.
In addition to online petitions that have lingered for the past few weeks, the Atlanta NAACP announced on Friday a boycott of the NFL.
“There will be no football in the state of Georgia if Colin Kaepernick is not on a training camp roster and given an opportunity to pursue his career,” said Gerald Griggs of the Atlanta NAACP at a Friday press conference, via fox5atlanta.com. “This is not a simple request. This is a statement. This is a demand.”
The owner of the local NFL team in Atlanta has issued a statement that states, essentially, “Don’t blame me for this.”
“I have a long record of active opposition to any symbol or behavior that represents exclusion or discrimination, both personally and in keeping with the core values of our businesses,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement provided to fox5atlanta.com. “I, along with our Family Foundation, the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United have never and will never waver from that stance.”
Another group has launched a #blackout in response to the situation with a video posted at YouTube.
“Kaepernick engaged in a silent, non-violent protest,” says Senior Pastor Deblaire Snell of the First SDA Church in Huntsville, Alabama. “He did this to raise awareness to the number of brown and black individuals that have been beaten and killed at the hands of law enforcement across this country. Since the end of last season, as a result of this protest, Colin Kaepernick has been unable to find employment in the NFL. I find that strange, seeing that the NFL has employed individuals that have been convicted of sexual assault, domestic violence, cruelty to animals, along with driving while under the influence. A number of NFL owners have come out and stated the reason they cannot employ him is because of a fear of a backlash from sponsors or a certain segment of their fan base. And it’s interesting that they’ve capitulated thus far to a certain segment of the fan base while fearing no backlash from the African-American community. . . .
“My belief is simply this. If Colin Kaepernick was willing to take a stand for those of us who are non-celebrities that would have to interact with law enforcement on a day-to-day basis, if he’s willing to take a knee for us, certainly we ought to take a stand, and stand with him.”
Over the balance of the video, various others explain that there will be a refusal to watch the NFL, a refusal to purchase NFL merchandise, and a refusal to participate in fantasy football.
“We want you to know this protest is not anti-flag, because people of color love the Stars and Stripes,” says Dr. Leslie N. Pollard, president of Oakwood University. “This protest is not anti-American, because people of color have loved this country, even when this country has not loved us back. And this protest is not anti-veteran, because we support those who have made sacrifices so that our liberties have been secured. This protest is to ensure the rights of all Americans regardless of color and creed to be heard.”
It’s one thing to launch the effort. It’s another thing for the effort to have an impact.
Regardless, the effort officially has been launched. And now the NFL and its teams will have to decide whether to risk angering one side over potentially alienating the other side.
Ideally, the NFL and its teams would forget about who it’s going to upset and instead make a decision based on the core question of right vs. wrong.