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Thursday, August 10, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

So they are going to hold a rally on the streets of New York at the NFL offices in protest of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — whose refusal to stand for the national anthem before games last year became a a source of national debate — not having a job in the league.

The “United We Stand” rally will attempt to strong arm NFL owners — the same ones who let their lackey, commissioner Roger Goodell suspend the biggest star in the league, Tom Brady, for four games because of owners long list of grievances against the New England Patriots — into signing Kaepernick, who remains out of work at this point of the preseason.


Won’t this conflict with the movement that celebrates young players quitting the game because it destroys and damages lives?

Are they trying to help Kaepernick or put him at risk for an old age filled with pain and dementia?

Is this what happens when outrages collide?

It’s doubtful that political pressure is going to force the hands of the men who own these football teams, who are not used to being told what to do outside of the boardroom. And I’m not sure that all this pressure — the petitions, the rallies — is something that Kaepernick, who has said he would now stand for the national anthem if he returns to football, welcomes.

If he is as smart as people say, he knows all of this is probably working against him.

And, if he is indeed as smart as people say, Kaepernick realizes his problem didn’t really start when everyone learned he was quietly protesting the treatment of minorities in America by refusing to stand for the national anthem.

He knows it was the socks — the ones that Kaepernick wore during training camp last August with the image of cartoon pigs wearing police hats.

Socks depicting cops as pigs — that was the line that Kaepernick crossed that, if there is a concerted effort to keep Kaepernick out of the league, did the damage.

People on the streets protesting police violence can wear socks showing cops as pigs. A representative of “The Shield” — the NFL — can’t do that without expecting severe, long-lasting repercussions.

“It’s just ridiculous that the same league that prohibits the Dallas (Cowboys) football club from honoring the slain officers in their community with their uniforms stands silent when Kaepernick is dishonoring police officers with what he’s wearing on the field,” Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations (a coalition of police unions and associations from across the country), told USA Today Sports. “I think the league is in a downward spiral regarding their obligations to the public under (Commissioner) Roger Goodell and this is just another example of that.

“It doesn’t seem like he’s thought through or bothered to educate himself about the way (law enforcement officers) are out there trying to do a very difficult job, and the vast majority of the time get the job done right,” Johnson said. “The NFL has exhibited — it’s not just tone deafness, it seems to be an act of dislike of police, frankly.”

Every NFL team does business with local law enforcement. They provide game day security, police escorts and other services.

In each NFL city, there’s a police union or association that is likely a member of the National Association of Police Organizations — 240,000 members.

I suspect those unions, associations and members have made their feelings about Kaepernick known to their local football teams.

Kaepernick tried to distance himself from the message on the socks immediately after it hit the news, posting on his Instagram account: “I wore those socks, in the past, because the rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger, but also put the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust. I have two uncles and friends who are police officers and work to protect and serve all people. So before those socks, which were worn before I took my public stance, are used to distract from the real issues, I wanted to address this immediately.”

Won’t work. It’s like someone trying to explain why they used a racial slur. For cops, there is no explanation.

I suspect the cops in Miami, who helped clear Kaepernick of rape accusations in 2014, don’t see the nuance of the message he was sending with his pig socks.

If it was his refusal to stand for the anthem that is keeping Kaepernick out of the league, why no repercussions for the number of other players around the league who joined him? Like 49ers teammate safety Eric Reed, who told espn.com recently he his excited about his new role with the San Francisco defense. He’s not out of a job.

Kaepernick, despite his lofty statistics last season (16 touchdowns, four interceptions) lost his starting job in San Francisco to Blaine Gabbert in 2015 and for part of last season. Do you think then-coach Chip Kelly did so because of Kaepernick’s politics? Kelly reportedly has such football tunnel vision that he probably didn’t even know they played the national anthem before games until the Kaepernick controversy.

All this comes down to one particular truth — if you are going to make your own rules, you better be really good at what you do.

Colin Kaepernick simply isn’t good enough to make his own rules.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.


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