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Colin Kaepernick

OPINION: Do NFL Owners Think Football Fans Are Racist?

The Seattle Seahawks outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman took some time out of his busy week preparing for the 2017/2018 football season to name a list of quarterbacks whom, despite being worse than Colin Kaepernick, are starting on a team while Kaepernick waits without an employer.

Among those players Sherman named were Ryan Mallet, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jared Geoff.

“You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand?” Sherman wondered to USA Today. “That’s where it is so troublesome to me.”

Sherman’s remarks came immediately after Baltimore Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti was asked during a fan forum about the potential image damaging qualities Kaepernick might bring if the team signed him – the Ravens, with their star quarterback Joe Flacco out with an injury, desperately need a quarterback.

In a rambling answer, Bisciotti said things like, “I care about the fan base but I have to absorb the opinions of the layers that have been there,” and “I don’t know, I’m Catholic, we spend a lot of time kneeling. So you know when I saw him develop last year and he went from siting to kneeling next to his teammates – I liked that.”

Although he had done it several times before hand, Kaepernick was first noticed for sitting during the National Anthem – “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL.com – in August 2016. The movement grew quickly but not as fast as its opposition. Kaepernick was labeled a cop-hater, anti-Military, and anti-American. And soon, he was without a job.

The Kaepernick debate is still contentious but despite some people’s claim that it has nothing to do with race, the conflict has everything to do with race – Kaepernick said it did right from the get-go.

Leaving a decent quarterback in free agency – and he is decent, if not a little more than decent – because of his political beliefs, these political beliefs, begs the question, “Do NFL owners think their fan base is racist?”

They must. During Bisciotti’s rambling answer, he mentioned that it is dangerous to listen to a vocal minority when making a team decision but he failed to mention who the vocal minority was. Is it the group of people who think that Kaepernick is one step away from becoming some black militant terrorist? Or is it the group of people who are tired of police aggression, brutality, and murder against black citizens?

I would assume that winning football games is more important to a fan base than agreeing with your quarterback’s views on social injustice but the owners don’t seem to concur. By black-balling Kaepernick, the owners – the vast majority of whom, are older, white males – are telling the world that they believe that their fan base is filled with racists who would protest the team and put financial interests at stake if Kaepernick were to be signed.

There’s another aspect of race that plays into this situation that people have seemed to forgotten about. In 2017, out of all 32 projected quarterbacks to start on opening day, only five are black.

Kaepernick was already an outsider when he took his first snap under center in the NFL. His protest against social injustice only exacerbated this fact by a little.

There is a line that black quarterbacks – who have already been afforded a rare opportunity by the owners – cannot cross if they want to keep their job because, as has been made clear, the men in charge are afraid that their racist fans will turn on their profits.

In the words of Biscotti, “You gotta be careful about the vocal minority, they have a tendency to sound like a bigger group than they are.”

The vocal minority is a group of racists, mixed in with a group of people unable to even briefly empathize with a black American’s fight against social injustice. Don’t listen to them, they have a tendency to sound like a bigger group than they are.

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Written by Jacob Kaye