Why Colin Kaepernick Matters So Much

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-11-04 19:34Z by Steven

Why Colin Kaepernick Matters So Much

The Nation
2017-11-03

Dave Zirin


Colin Kaepernick on December 24, 2016. (Robert Hanashiro / USA Today via Reuters)

Why has he become a symbol of hope and resistance? It’s complicated.

Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me, for centuries

Last night, my eighth-grader daughter went to see the band Fall Out Boy in concert—no comments on a 13-year-old’s musical tastes, or I will smite you. Behind the band, as they played their hit song “Centuries,” was a massive flat-screen image of Colin Kaepernick.

It’s remarkable to think that just two years ago, when Kaepernick turned 28, he was in the middle of his worst season as a pro, injured and only playing nine games, with his team exploring trade options even though he was just two and a half years removed from being a play away from leading his team to a Super Bowl. (It’s worth noting that even his worst season involved his having a quarterback rating higher than 13 players who have started for teams this season.)

On the day of his 30th birthday, it’s time to retire questions like, “Why does he deserve a spot on a roster?” If you’re still asking that, then I doubt you’ve read this far, but I’ll just say that Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton—winners of four of the last seven NFL MVP awards—think he should be on a team, and if you want to disagree with them, have at it…

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The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-29 02:35Z by Steven

The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Shondaland
2017-09-28

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Getty

I was the only girl on my high school’s football team — but I can no longer support the sport.

I was the only girl on my high school’s tackle football team.

I grew up watching my father clap his hands loudly, and yell at the TV during NFL games. I remember sometimes falling asleep to that sweet sound. He knew very little about football when he immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 1950s for college. He and his roomates were some of the only black people on campus, and they were also on the university’s football team. This is how my dad both learned the joys of black American culture, and developed his deep love of American football.

Eventually he ended up in Washington, D.C., where I was born. My white mom got full custody of my brother and me after our parents’ divorce when we were still young, so I grew up desperate to find ways to connect with my dad. I would try to speak Patois — though he had lost his accent since college to avoid being constantly “otherized.” I would try and learn factoids about the countries he visited in eastern Africa while searching for his roots and for a place with no racial or class oppression. But the single biggest gesture I made to try and gain my father’s love — was to learn to love football…

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The NFL’s War Against Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-06-09 01:19Z by Steven

The NFL’s War Against Colin Kaepernick

The Nation
2017-06-08

Dave Zirin


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after a victory against the Rams in Los Angeles, California, on December 24, 2016. (Robert Hanashiro, USA Today via Reuters)

Leading media members are carrying on a disinformation campaign against the greatest political lightning rod in sports.

We have heard a farcical parade of excuses by NFL owners and executives for why free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed. “He’s not 100 percent committed.” “He’s more concerned with activism.” “He’s a distraction.” “He will only sign with a team if he starts.” “He wants too much money.” Even, “I am concerned about his conditioning now that he is now a vegetarian” (Real NFL players, if you haven’t heard, floss their teeth with steak gristle and drink testosterone shakes drained fresh from a bull’s balls.)

Their foot-massagers in the media—especially much of the team at Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback page at Sports Illustrated—have dutifully repeated these assertions with metronomic regularity.

Yet as each of these claims has been debunked by journalists actually communicating with Kaepernick and his people, they all continue to be reiterated. In other words, what is happening is a cycle of disinformation, carried out by media members who might as well wear the NFL brand tattooed on the small of their backs…

…The truth is ugly as sin. The NFL is denying Colin Kaepernick employment not because he isn’t “good enough” but because he is being shut out for the crime of using his platform to protest the killing of black kids by police. This makes the league’s right-wing billionaire owners’ silk boxers bunch up…

…Kaepernick’s pariah status is about sending a shot across the bow at every political athlete—particularly black athletes—that they better toe the line. The owners are again sending the message—just like when they tried to “influence” research on the effects of brain injuries in the sport—that the lives of players simply do not matter to the National Football League

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Colin Kaepernick Saw This Coming

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-04-03 02:09Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick Saw This Coming

Complex
2017-03-30

Dria Roland


Image via USA Today Sports

In pop culture years, 2012 was ages ago. But try to remember. That was the year quarterback Alex Smith suffered a concussion in the first half of the Niners game against the Rams in Week 10, and a backup QB named Colin Kaepernick had to fill in. The game ended in a tie, the NFL’s first in four years. The next week Kaepernick started, and led the team to victory. And even after Smith was declared healthy, Kaepernick continued to start—and to win. A “quarterback controversy” brewed, but coach Harbaugh went with the guy “with the hot hand,” as they say.

With that, a star was born. A second-year, backup QB led the Niners all the way to Super Bowl XLVII, and even though the Ravens came out on top, all people could talk about was Kap. His spread in the ESPN Body Issue made women swoon all around the nation. He signed endorsement deals with Jaguar, Nike, Beats, and Electronic Arts. Feature stories were written about his tattoos, his pet tortoise named Sammy, his being a biracial kid adopted by white parents…

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The NFL has effectively blackballed Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-03-24 18:48Z by Steven

The NFL has effectively blackballed Colin Kaepernick

The Washington Post
2017-03-23

Kevin B. Blackistone, Visiting Professor
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland

A week before Christmas 1996, Craig Hodges, who twice during his 10 NBA seasons was the league’s best three-point shooter, filed a federal lawsuit against the NBA. He charged that the league colluded to end his career four seasons earlier.

Hodges contended the league was upset that he showed up at the White House with Michael Jordan and his other teammates from the 1991 NBA champion Bulls draped in a dashiki — a traditional West African tunic popularized here during the Black Power movement — and exercised utter audacity by presenting their host, President George H.W. Bush, with a two-page letter calling for the plight of people of color and the poor in this country to be prioritized in Bush’s domestic agenda.

A week into 1998, the court dismissed Hodges’s complaint. His career effectively died when the Bulls waived him following their second championship in 1992.

But Hodges’s story was revived with the advent of this NFL offseason’s free agency period. He’s been reincarnated in Colin Kaepernick. To be sure, Kaepernick managed the 17th-best quarterback rating last season among starters while coming back from injury. His touchdown percentage was 13th best, better than Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who wound up in the Pro Bowl and with a new franchise-tag contract worth $24 million next season. His interception percentage was sixth, just behind Aaron Rodgers and just ahead of MVP Matt Ryan

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Colin Kaepernick Protests National Anthem Over Treatment of Minorities

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-27 16:52Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick Protests National Anthem Over Treatment of Minorities

ABC News
2016-08-27

Michael Edison Hayden

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game Friday out of protest against America’s treatment of “black people and people of color.”

Kaepernick told NFL media he made his own decision to protest the playing of the anthem during the game against the Green Bay Packers, saying he felt an obligation to stand with “people that are oppressed.”

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick, a five-year veteran, broke into the NFL in 2012, a year he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

“I am not looking for approval,” he added. “I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.”…

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Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Controversy Shows Dangers of Racial Authenticity Tests

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-03 21:58Z by Steven

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Controversy Shows Dangers of Racial Authenticity Tests

The American Prospect
2014-11-01

Kevin Cokley, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology; Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

The ‘are you black enough?’ question is perilously close to the racist one-drop rule of yore—whether called by blacks or whites.

Whether Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is “black enough” is beside the point. The real issue is why we are still talking about racial authenticity at all.

“My feeling on this—and it’s backed up by several interviews with Seahawks players—is that some of the black players think Wilson isn’t black enough,” Mike Freeman writes at Bleacher Report, reporting on tensions between just-traded teammate Percy Harvin and Wilson, including a locker room reportedly divided into pro/con camps.

“This is an issue that extends outside of football, into African-American society—though it’s gotten better recently,” Freeman writes. “Well-spoken blacks are seen by some other blacks as not completely black. Some of this is at play.”

The “Am I Black Enough?” racial authenticity card is a recurring theme in the lives of black athletes in particular, and black people in general. Concerns about racial authenticity are always present, especially for those who are biracial or somewhat more racially ambiguous as Wilson, with his light skin tone and curly hair, is believed to be…

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