This past June I announced that I would be personally boycotting the NFL for their outrageous mistreatment of Colin Kaepernick. That decision was personal and I hesitated to call for a national boycott of the league — in part because I naively thought Colin would already be on a team by now. He’s not — and that’s wrong.
Today, I am calling for a national boycott of the NFL.
*Don’t watch the games. Any of them. Not in person and not on television.
*Cancel any subscription services to the league — like Sunday Ticket — if you have one.
*Don’t even watch the damn highlights.
Listen, we live in an outrageous time in our nation’s history where a bigoted orange carnival barker is the President of the United States. In the shadow of that tragedy, many things that would’ve previously become a national scandal are given a quick glance or a simple shake of the head when they deserve so much more.
White supremacists are marching on American cities and running over peaceful people with their cars. 830 people have been killed by American police so far this year and only a few among us can name even a single victim. To this day, four different white supremacists who beat the life out of Deandre Harris in the parking lot of the Charlottesville Police Department are still on the loose and have not yet been identified. It’s been a month.
This is why Colin Kaepernick took a peaceful knee in the first place. He was right to take a knee. Hell, our entire nation should be taking a knee or raising a fist right now.
A few months ago, when I first announced that I just couldn’t watch the NFL any longer, people were still making the foolhardy argument that it was purely a football decision to keep Colin out of the league and that he simply wasn’t good enough to play the game anymore. Nevermind that no 29 year old quarterback in NFL history had Colin’s stats and success without being on a roster the following year. Nevermind that men who had never completed a single pass in the NFL were brought in from the Arena League for roster spots. Nevermind that career second and third string quarterbacks were brought out of retirement for jobs this season. White supremacy will always contort itself in peculiar ways to justify its existence.
Since June, a shift has taken place. NFL stars, executives, and experts who don’t even agree with Colin taking a knee during the national anthem have all come out to say that the only reason he’s not on a roster right now is because of his stance against injustice. To say otherwise is a lie.
Colin Kaepernick is in the prime of his athletic life. He is in peak physical condition. He is a model citizen. He is a compassionate and generous soul. He was so well-liked by his teammates last season that they voted to give him the team’s highest honor for his performance on and off the field. He has set NFL records. He took his team to the Super Bowl and deep into the playoffs multiple times. None of it matters, though, because teams in the NFL are openly aiming to make an example of him.
League executives have openly admitted that they “genuinely hate him.” Let’s stop right there for a moment. How could that even be? Hate what? What has this man done to warrant such strong disdain?
Please allow me to remind you that at least seven different NFL team owners gave $1 million or more to Donald Trump’s campaign. No other sports league in the world is even close to that number. If you don’t think Colin being shut out of the NFL has anything to do with this, then you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem. These white men hate Colin, like Donald Trump hates Colin, and like Trump hates Obama, because they cannot believe a black man stepped into power without their permission. These white team owners cannot believe that Colin took a stance against injustice in America without their expressed permission and blessing. And they particularly cannot believe that when they expressed their displeasure, that he continued to do it anyway — with players all over the league following his example. That’s why they hate him. He is a quiet, peaceful man. To hate him says much more about you than it does about Colin.
Listen, I love sports. I am a sports junkie and have been my whole life. I’ve watched hundreds, maybe thousands, of NFL games throughout my life. I am personal friends with dozens of players in the league. But I can’t, in good conscience, support this corporation knowing that they have effectively banned a good man, and a capable player, from playing because he took a quiet stand against injustice and police brutality.
So, I’m asking you to join me in boycotting the NFL this year. We will end our boycott when Colin Kaepernick is signed to an NFL roster. It’s that simple.
Listen, we have power. Our money has power. Our viewership has power. Our buying power can sway what companies do or don’t support. But we have to unify and make this power mean something.
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Shaun King: ‘I Am Calling For A National Boycott Of The NFL’ was originally published on blackamericaweb.com