One of the many results of anthem-protesting former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s continued unemployment, has been the growth of the pro-Kaepernick protest movement. This movement has taken the form of active protest, speeches, or, simply wearing Kaepernick’s 49er jersey.
Though, it appears that one group wants to take things to another level.
A #NoKaepernickNoNFL petition has gained over 175,000 signatures on Change.org. The petition makes it clear that those who sign, will not watch the NFL until Kaepernick gets signed. The pro-Kaepernick NFL boycott movement also got a shot in the arm last week from a group of Black American pastors in Alabama, in a video released last week. Likewise, the pastors claim they will not watch the NFL, or buy any NFL products, until Kaepernick is signed.
Instead of football, the pastors will devote their time to community service every Sunday.
The movement is using the hashtag #BlackOutNFL, several signs promoting the hashtag were seen at the pro-Kaepernick rally in New York weeks ago. Why has this boycott materialized now? What has led so many passionate NFL fans, who support Kaepernick, to leave the game?
According to TIME, “Watching a team like the Miami Dolphins pull Jay Cutler, a white quarterback with inferior statistics during his injury-ridden 2016 campaign, out of retirement rather than give Kaepernick a shot strikes a raw nerve for many fans.”
Saying Jay Cutler was “pulled out of retirement” is a bit of a stretch. Cutler had been retired for all of eight minutes, before he started getting phone calls. Secondly, and more importantly, Kaepernick’s protests were not the main reason he didn’t get signed in Miami. Had Kaepernick not worn a shirt lauding and celebrating the chief tormentor of the Cuban people to a press conference, then perhaps Miami’s heavily Cuban population might be more open to him.
Especially since several Dolphins players took part in anthem protests last year, without any repercussion from the fans, or team ownership. However, because the man who tortured Cuba for more than 50 years is a hero to Kaepernick, he could never have been accepted there.
One pro-boycott Kaepernick supporter told TIME, “For me, it’s personal. We need to support people who remind us we don’t live in a post-racial society.”
The NFL is 68% black, according to the 2014 NFL Census. Based on that, how can anyone claim the NFL has an issue with race? Isn’t the more obvious conclusion, that they merely have an issue with Kaepernick?
The irony in this boycott, of course, is that it’s a self-fulfilling indicator. With all the drama, protests, threats, and now, boycotts. Kaepernick’s supporters are showing exactly why no NFL team has signed him.