Kaepernick remains a winner

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Colin Kaepernick, the ousted and blackballed former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers was given an audience from some NFL teams to watch him workout, but has been admonished by many football fans and pundits as being difficult and not serious in his attempts to return to the NFL as a quarterback.

The conditions for the workout seems to have been contentious and shady at the least, led more by the demands of the NFL than what Kaepernick felt was in his best interests, leading some to feel he was insincere in his wish to return to the  NFL. Kaepernick’s refusal to sign an unusual waiver relinquishing his right to pursue future employment lawsuits or refusing to having his workout open to the media caused many to view him as being difficult and less than humble. But one can conclude quite the contrary. When does one have to apologize for looking out for what is in their best interests, especially Kaepernick, when viewing how he has been treated by NFL owners in the past? Media presence and transparency should have been a given instead of factors for debate.

Some felt Kaepernick should have been so desperate to return to the NFL as a quarterback that he should have cow-towed to any conditions enabling his return. But when all is said and the rhetoric settles, Kaepernick surfaces as the winner with his integrity and respect intact.

Unfortunately, you find some of his critics lacking integrity and self-respect. They find nothing wrong in following the money and being puppets, refusing to speak the truth. Judge however you must, but respect Kaepernick for having the fortitude to stand up for what he feels is right and in his best interests during the workout controversy. Some would liken his stance to that of David standing up to Goliath.

Let’s make no mistake, Kaepernick has been blackballed by the owners of the NFL because of protesting, by kneeling, during the national anthem. He was peacefully bringing attention to police brutality and racial injustice in this country. Evidently, the NFL owners feel their players should play football only and not use their position to bring attention to social or political issues. This position is in contrast to many who feel those in the spotlight should use their positions to speak out against injustice, corruption, and social ills affecting our country.

Many feel the NFL league’s attempt to orchestrate Kaepernick’s workout was bogus and insincere, with no real objective to truly consider hiring him. There are litanies of quarterbacks starting/playing on NFL teams that are injured or inept, not coming close to having the skills, record, or exposure, Kaepernick has demonstrated.      Kaepernick has started in two NFC championship games, a Super Bowl, and has the fifth best touchdown-to interceptions ratio of all time.

Many of Kaepernick’s supporters find it insulting to question his ability when compared to some of the NFL quarterbacks hired since his 2016 blackball. While the NFL may think they are sending a message to those who speak out, their actions only seek to inflame racial relations against them in the African American community. Make no mistake, Kaepernick’s stance is symbolic of those African Americans who feel they have no voice. The NFL’s opposition toward him, shows their lack of empathy and insensitivity to injustices raining down upon people of color.

It is unfortunate that the NFL has prompted some of their ‘bought Black puppets to speak out against Kaepernick, demonizing and devaluing his motives. Many of those bent on criticizing Kaepernick for not selling his soul to the devil, regardless of the cost, lack true self-respect and integrity. Colin Kaepernick’s actions should be a uniting force. Using other Blacks to denigrate and belittle other Blacks has always been a weapon used by those who oppress Blacks to keep them from being united. When Kaepernick win, we all win.

Kaepernick has become synonymous with self-respect, integrity, perseverance and humanity for many people. Stay strong and true to self, Kaepernick. Keep your self-respect and integrity intact, regardless of the naysayers and haters. You are the winner.