Several civil rights groups are organizing a rally for free-agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Filmmaker Spike Lee drew attention to the rally when he tweeted an advertisement for it – in which Kaepernick’s name was misspelled – that said it was to be held Aug. 23 outside NFL headquarters on Park Avenue. Lee then tweeted that he didn’t organize the rally but still supports his brother and “his stance on the injustices in the USA.”
Activists feel Kaepernick has been unfairly treated since he decided to protest the shooting of black citizens by police officers by kneeling for the national anthem before games. Training camp for the upcoming season is well underway, and Kaepernick is still unemployed. Analysts with knowledge of the league have consistently concluded owners don’t want to sign such a controversial player as their backup quarterback, essentially creating a media firestorm over someone who won’t play. On the other side of the coin is the fact that teams need quarterbacks and Kaepernick is the last one on the market with a shot of doing anything successfully on a football field.
The Miami Dolphins’ signing of quarterback Jay Cutler this past week shows the lengths teams are willing to go to get someone if their main guy goes down. Cutler was retired and ready to enjoy football from a different point of view working as an anchor for Fox Sports. Despite his openly admitting he hasn’t worked out and that he is only doing it for the money, the Dolphins didn’t think twice about signing him. In truth, it makes perfect sense, as Cutler has a relationship with head coach Adam Gase who convinced the owner to fork over more money, which makes the learning curve a lot less steep with his new team.
While Gase’s familiarity with Cutler is the main reason the Dolphins didn’t even take a peek at Kaepernick, speculation the owner didn’t want to bring a guy who wore a Fidel Castro shirt into a Cuban market is warranted. Kaepernick’s off-the-field noise also hurt his chances with the Ravens, who reportedly passed on Kaepernick after his girlfriend made disparaging remarks about NFL owners.
Appearing on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, Giants owner John Mara said he believes Kaepernick has good football left in him but noted that a decision to sign Kaepernick is far from just a football decision.
“I think he still has some good football left in him. I agree with that,” Mara said. “But obviously there are other issues that go along with him. Is he willing to sit as a backup behind a starter? What’s that going to do with your locker room? Your quarterback room? With your offensive room?
“I believe he’ll be back in the league at some point this year with a team.”
Mara told the MMGB back in May about the flood of fan mail centered around Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem.
“It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, more so than any other issue I’ve run into,” Mara said.
But he vehemently denied claims Kaepernick is being blackballed by the league.
“Absolutely not. Anybody who thinks there has been any conversations going on among teams about Colin Kaepernick is crazy,” Mara said Tuesday. “That just is not the case. I saw a quote, I think it was Steve Ross in Miami said recently: ‘Teams want to win so badly that if they believe a player can help them win, they are going to bring them on.’ And I think there are certain issues that go along with Colin Kaepernick and that may have scared some teams away.
“But there is absolutely no blackball going on here. I just don’t see that at all.”
I Did Not Organize And Set Up This Protest. However I Still Support My Brother And His Stance On The Injustices In The USA
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) August 8, 2017
ABOUT COLIN KAEPERNICK
Colin Rand Kaepernick (born November 3, 1987) is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. Kaepernick played collegiate football at the University of Nevada where he was named the Western Athletic Offensive Player of the Year twice and was the Most Valuable Player of the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl. Kaepernick was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Kaepernick began his professional career as a backup to Alex Smith, but became the 49ers’ starter in the middle of the 2012 season after Smith suffered a concussion. He remained the team’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season and went on to lead the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994, losing to the Baltimore Ravens. During the 2013 season, his first full season as a starter, Kaepernick helped the 49ers reach the NFC Championship, losing to the Seattle Seahawks. In the following seasons, Kaepernick lost and won back his starting job, with the 49ers missing the playoffs for three years consecutively.
In 2016, Kaepernick gained national attention when he began protesting by not standing while the United States national anthem was being performed before the start of games, motivated by what he viewed as the oppression of non-white races in the U.S. His actions prompted a wide variety of responses, including additional athletes in the NFL and other U.S. sports leagues protesting the anthem in various ways.
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