During a recent fan forum Baltimore Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti admitted that he’s considering factors, other than just football, when it comes to deciding whether his team will sign anthem-protesting quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Bisciotti went on at length about the subject after a fan asked whether signing Kaepernick would damage the Ravens brand.
According to the team website, Bisciotti said, “We’ve very sensitive to it and we’re monitoring it, and we’re still, as [General Manager] Ozzie [Newsome] said, scrimmaging it. So pray for us.”
Bisciotti then answered the question in more depth. “Quantify hurting the brand. I know that we’re going to upset some people, and I know that we’re going to make people happy that we stood up for somebody that has the right to do what he did. Non-violent protesting is something that we have all embraced. I don’t like the way he did it. Personally, I kind of liked it a lot when he went from sitting to kneeling. I don’t know, I’m Catholic, we spend a lot of time kneeling.
“Talk to your neighbors and your friends and your co-workers, because I think you’ll get the same sense that I got, which is every time I hear something negative, I hear something positive and sometimes it shocks me who it’s coming from. I hope we do what is best for the team and balance that with what’s best for the fans. Your opinions matter to us, and we couldn’t get a consensus on it in [this room] either.”
No, but one might get a far better consensus from the over 9,000 people surveyed in the recent J.D. Power survey. Which clearly stated that, among those who watched the NFL less last year, Kaepernick’s protests were the main reason why. One could also get a consensus by factoring in the reaction of Giants fans in May. When they warned ownership that signing Kaepernick would have dire consequences.
Bisciotti’s lame attempt at analogy between Kaepernick’s kneeling in protest, and the kind of kneeling that takes place in a Catholic mass is also gross. Kneeling at mass is done out of respect, submission, and reverence. Kneeling in protest of the anthem is the opposite of all those things.
Regardless, the sports media has made much of the Ravens history of making exceptions for bad actors. Whether welcoming Ray Lewis back with open arms after his involvement in an incident which left two men stabbed to death. Or, the team defending Ray Rice in the run up to the release of the video where he knocked out his then-fiancee.
A couple things about that. In Ray Lewis’ case, not only was he about a million times better football player than Colin Kaepernick. He also wasn’t found guilty of the murders. Two inconvenient truths that one must overlook in order to draw a comparison between how the Ravens handled Lewis, versus the way they appear to be handling Kaepernick.
Ray Rice did a terrible thing, and the Ravens certainly didn’t handle that well. However, Rice was already a hugely popular member of the Ravens organization, and much beloved player in the city of Baltimore. Colin Kaepernick is neither of those things. People will sometimes, rightly or wrongly, go to lengths to defend their own trash. But very few will go to lengths to bring other people’s trash in.
The Ravens are well within their rights to consider factors other than football when it comes to Colin Kaepernick. But the only reason why teams have to do that is because of Kaepernick. He chose to make his NFL life the public face of a hugely controversial protest movement. No one cared about Colin Kaepernick’s political beliefs before he decided to turn Sunday afternoons into a display of social justice activism. If Kaepernick is angry that people now judge him for things other than football, he need only blame himself.
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