Shaun King: Why I Won’t Be Watching The NFL This Year

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I won’t be watching the NFL this year. I can’t, in good conscience, support this league, with all of its pro-Trump owners, as it blacklists my friend and brother Colin Kaepernick for taking a silent, peaceful stance against injustice and police brutality in America. It’s disgusting and has absolutely nothing to do with football and everything to do with penalizing a brilliant young man for the principled stance he took last season.

I did not want to make this decision, but seeing the Seattle Seahawks, after flying Kaepernick across country to meet with the team, instead decide to sign Austin Davis as their backup QB, was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It’s a disgrace. The man is a scrub.

In 2012 Austin Davis wasn’t even drafted. He signed a free agent deal with Rams that year and was cut without playing a single snap. Colin Kaepernick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl that year and had some of the best stats of any quarterback in the playoffs.  His 98.3 QB rating for the season was right behind that of Tom Brady.

In 2013, the Dolphins signed Austin Davis to the practice squad, but cut him before he played a single snap. In his opening game that season for the 49ers, Kaepernick threw for 412 yards with 3 touchdowns – the most offense of a 49ers quarterback in a decade. Again, Kaepernick took his team deep into the playoffs and was only a pass away from being back in the Super Bowl. That year Kaepernick had 21 passing touchdowns with just 8 interceptions and again had a stellar 91.6 QB rating and the team had a 12-4 record. The 49ers responded by making Kaepernick one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league.

In 2014, Austin Davis finally played a little bit in the league for the St. Louis Rams, but eventually became the 3rd string quarterback and was cut again.

Last year while Davis literally sat at home and watched football, Colin Kaepernick, playing under his 3rd coach in 3 years, still threw 16 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions. The team struggled, but the coaches and team management were eventually fired because of it. Under the scrutiny of the whole world, Colin Kaepernick actually played well on the field with his best QB rating in years and more rushing yards per attempt than any year of his career. His teammates eventually voted to give him the highest honor the team has for a player for his stellar performance on and off the field.

Last season, Colin Kaepernick, in what may be seen as his most turbulent year ever, threw 3 more touchdowns and 8 fewer interceptions that Austin Davis has in his entire 5 year career in the league, but somehow, Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have job?

It’s not about football. Don’t call it football. If you call the decisions by 32 teams to not sign this man a football decision you don’t know football and probably voted for Donald Trump. 96 quarterbacks are usually signed to teams in the NFL. That Colin Kaepernick is not one of them is disgusting. Of course he’s one of the top 96 quarterbacks in the league. Kaepernick’s longtime rival, Richard Sherman, said he believed Kapernick was a top 20 quarterback.

Colin Kaepernick is not washed up. He’s in the prime of his physical career. He has no injuries. He’s brilliantly smart. He’s a good family dude with no criminal record. He’s a home body.  He’s deeply committed to community service. He gets along with his teammates. He takes care of his money. Yet, in spite of playing all of his cards right, this man can’t get a job in the league because he dared to speak out against police brutality and threaten the ridiculous fragility of the conservative white male fan base.

Let me break this down to you.

In the entire history of the NFL, 144 quarterbacks completed 200 or more passes in the season where they turned 29 years old.

143 of them were playing the next year.

Colin Kaepernick is the ONLY one not to be on a roster the following season.

I have to be honest, though, the decision to boycott the league this year was not my own. Watching the games every Sunday (and Monday and Thursday) with my 10 year old son had long since become a pastime in my house. A few days ago, after seeing an advertisement for a special on the NFL, he literally said to me, “Dad, we can’t watch after what they’ve done to Colin and with all of those owners loving Donald Trump so much.”

I agree, son. We can’t. We won’t. This league does not value us. It hires hundreds of black men to play on the field until their brains and bodies break, but refuses to give those same men space to be fully human and stand boldly against injustice.

Maybe if Colin Kaepernick gets a deal, it would change my mind, but deep damage is already done. As a leader in the Black Lives Matter Movement, as a voice in the resistance to Donald Trump, and as a friend of Colin Kaepernick, I cannot, in good conscience, support the NFL any longer. If I did, I’d struggle to look my own son in the eyes or look at myself in the mirror afterwards.

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Shaun King: Why I Won’t Be Watching The NFL This Year  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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