Colin Kaepernick has been the talk of this past NFL offseason and the controversy surrounding him doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
In fact, the NAACP is getting involved, and the organization has made it clear that it believes Kaepernick isn’t still a free agent because he’s a bad NFL quarterback.
In a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the NAACP made it clear that it believes Kaepernick’s lengthy free agency period coincides directly with his National Anthem protest last season.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter, as passed on by 247Sports:
“Last season, Mr. Kaepernick chose to exercise his first amendment right by protesting the inequitable treatment of people of color in America. By quietly taking a knee during the national anthem, he was able to shine a light on the many injustices faced by people of color, particularly the issue of police misconduct toward communities of color. As outlined in your office’s public statement, this act of dissent is well within the National Football League’s stated bylaws. Yet, as the NFL season quickly approaches, Mr. Kaepernick has spent an unprecedented amount of time as a free agent, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is no sheer coincidence.
“No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech – to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL’s own regulations. If history is any indication, situations like this will continue to persist if they are met with indifference and inaction. The NAACP is fully committed to defending the right to equitable treatment both within and outside the workplace.
“In order to determine the best approach to protecting players from being unfairly persecuted for their political beliefs, we hope to begin a dialogue with you and any other members of NFL leadership who have a vested interest in preserving the league’s integrity.”
This has already been one of the biggest talking points of the early NFL season and Kaepernick’s stance has had huge ripple effects into society as well. It’s not just a football issue anymore. Kaepernick has become a social and even political topic, with people on both sides of the spectrum having very strong opinions about him taking a knee during the National Anthem.
There’s hardly any middle ground regarding Kaepernick anymore, and perhaps there never was. Either his stance against minorities being unfairly (and in cases violently) treated is a cause worth protesting over, or it’s disrespectful to the flag and to the troops.
Segmented at best, divided at worst, Kaepernick has certainly caught the attention of America — for better or worse.