June 21, 2017
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B/R NFL National Lead Writer Mike Freeman previously was an NFL columnist for CBSSports.com. He has been a sportswriter for the New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post, among other papers. His books include "ESPN: The Uncensored History" (2001) and last year's "Undefeated: Inside the Miami Dolphins' Perfect Season."
I've seen Kaepernick make your column numerous times recently, and I can't help but have a couple questions. Basically, I can't figure out why he has drawn so much support. I don't have a problem with him taking a knee to protest oppression - hell, I agreed with him then. Unfortunately, he kept going.
Since he first made the news for his protest, it's mostly been a disaster. He wore the socks depicting officers as pigs, which is ignorant from any angle. I don't hold a ton of fondness for cops, but I at least understand you probably shouldn't dehumanize them if your goal is for police to stop dehumanizing others.
Then, he not only announced he did not vote, but doubled down, several times, on that being a good idea. He said he didn't care about the outcome, and later, that it would be hypocritical for him to vote, because it supported a system he disliked, and that system would never let the oppressed vote their way out. Sounds like a major F**K you to all the people who fought for voting rights over the years. Maybe he just doesn't have much concept of history. What would any civil rights leader say about that, past or present? If he got blackballed for this "political position," I'd be fine with it.
If you want to be a leader, to enact change in this country, it absolutely cannot be your view. Unless you don't care whether or not any change actually happens. Maybe he's not aware that president wasn't the only office up for grabs, and he could have a direct impact on policing by casting a vote for county sheriff.
Frankly, he seems way out of his depth. I mean, he argued that Fidel Castro is a good guy... to a Cuban-American, in Miami. Seems to further indicate he doesn't have a grasp of history, or his audience. Again, kind of a problem for someone casting themselves as a leader.
So maybe the question is this - why do you keep portraying Kaepernick as some sort of political martyr? As if he has been unfairly treated, because teams don't think his ability (average at best) is worth, well, all of the above? I don't get it.
I hardly expect you to read this, or reply, but on the off chance you do, thanks for taking the time.
It's also disgraceful that you're still employed as a sports writer. Any woman that watches the game could write more articulate articles than you.
Mike...I appreciate the your take, but consider this...every freaking day, we're hit over the head with politics. This guy said this, Trump said that, you suck if you believe this...on and on from every direction. Then Sunday comes along, time to escape a bit, cheer for my team and here's this jack-hole forcing his views on me. Dude, I just want to watch a game...quit putting issues in my face that I have nothing to do with. I get it...we Americans can improve in a lot of areas... but can't I just watch some football??? That's why he can't find a team...let me throw in the fact I'm still serving in the US Army and don't appreciate his style of protest...btw, why doesn't he head out to a COLLEGE and hand out suits?
Hey Mike -- I read and appreciated your May 12 column on Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick is a talented football player who should have a job in the NFL, if not for his social activism. What Kaepernick did in taking a knee during the anthem was very brave on his part -- he was making a statement intended to help others, exercising completely American values of speaking out against injustice. I agree completely with the message Kaepernick was sending. Kaepernick crossed a line that Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan were not willing to cross. Both of them could have taken perfectly justifiable political positions that would have jeopardized their standing in golf and basketball, but they chose not to. Give Kaepernick credit for bravery. So ... why doesn't Kaepernick have an NFL job right now? First, he committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of the owners: he used their stadiums and their TV time to make a personal political statement. In effect, he stole from them something from the NFL that was not his. Second, NFL owners are using Kaepernick to send a message to all of the other players that, if they consider using NFL property to make political statements, the price for that will be very, very high. Third, NFL owners are afraid of the political and economic consequences of putting Kaepernick back on the field. Right-wing crazies will start talking boycott, and their TV partners will start facing pressure as well. Maybe FCC trouble too, especially now that Trump is using Kaepernick as a political prop. I bet that quite a few people -- owners included -- in the NFL agree with Kaepernick that blacks suffer grave injustices in the United States. What's done is done. I don't see Kaepernick coming back to the NFL. He should go to Canada and make as much money as he can up there. He won't be somebody's political prop and he might become a very big star. Doug Flutie?
I don't think anybody should be subjected to being beaten. The NFL nor the media have ever been my moral compass. Play the games and report the news of the games and stay away from trying to influence our ethics.
Mike, I read your article about the Browns' futility. No question you are correct. The only thing I want to point out is when you reference their pre-Super Bowl history, you are referring to a different franchise that is now the Baltimore Ravens. The current Browns franchise is a new franchise with no positive history and poor ownership, leadership, and understanding of how to create a winner.
(correction I know that Chicago has da Bears)
Hi Mike, I just ready your article about the evils of moving the Raiders to Las Vegas. How about considering this from a fan's perspective? Specifically, looking at the perspective of the 2 million or so Las Vegas locals who are excited to have a new home football team. Why do you feel the need to defame all that is Vegas by focusing on the old fashioned cliches that Vegas is "Sin City", all about greed, gambling, and sex. I can tell you from experience that it's so much more! There are gigantic suburbs filled with wholesome families. There is a burgeoning downtown tech scene. There are beautiful hikes, bike trails, and parks that are much more a part of a Vegas local's life than casinos and strip clubs are. Vegas is an easy target for the outsider. It's such a double standard. I don't hear you protesting the fact that Detroit has the Lions while they are full of political corruption. I don't hear you protesting the fact that Chicago has the Lions while people are getting murdered at a historically alarming rate. Are those characteristics less important than the gambling and sex in Vegas? Don't even get me started on New Orleans. But what do each of these cities and Las Vegas have in common? Each is full of good people being put down for the reputation of their city. Should any of them lose their NFL team because of moral problems? Of course not! Since when is having an NFL team a symbol of a city's morality? Just so you know, Vegas should not be considered a second class city that doesn't deserve an NFL franchise. It is a city full of kind, ambitious, character driven people.
I just read your article on Kaepernick being given the cold shoulder by NFL owners. It's a good article and well written but you left out one very important issue.
You argue that Kaepernick is being punished for "speaking his mind." As an American, it is his Constitutional right to speak his mind, and he did. The thing he - Kaepernick - may not have calculated is that when a very public figure takes a political, social, or ethical stance on an issue in the most public way possible, they are open to criticism and may suffer consequences. That is the entire point of taking a public stand, by doing so one is stating to the world, "I believe in xxxx and I"m not afraid of the consequences."
You propose that some NFL teams may be "punishing" Kaepernick for what he did, a premise I do not disagree with. What you have left out however, is that the very right Kaepernick exercised just may be being exercised by the owners. They may be exercising their Constitutional right to symbolic speech. This symbolic speech is to not employ Mr. Kaepernick because they disagree with his public statements.
The manner in which your article is written seems to want to have it both ways. You want to support Kaepernick for "speaking his mind" but simultaneously condemn NFL teams and or owners for doing this same. Your argument is either ill-informed or disingenuous, freedom of speech is a two way street no matter whether you support Kaepernick, NFL teams/owners or not.
Starting to see you relate to Kaep a lot. His football talent is on the same level as your writing talent. #garbage