Colin Kaepernick: “The Truth will Out”

Neither police brutality nor racism are responsible for the “Kaepernick NFL Anthem Protests.”

Many have wondered what the root cause for the NFL National Anthem protests are. Very few believe the original or even revised explanations for Kaepernick’s first sitting and then kneeling in pre-game during the National Anthem are real. Why? Logic dictates finding a way to maximize effort and energy at the place and time to reach the most people with the message for your cause. Granted an NFL television audience is a great place to detail a cause. But simply sitting or kneeling is not realistically arguable to be the best way to protest any cause, especially when in doing so the protest method itself deflects attention from the cause. Colin Kaepernick is not a stupid person. He’s a quarterback! Those guys — especially those who not only reach the NFL but are proficient on the job — are usually really sharp. Kaepernick’s reasoning for his method of protest is puzzling…and literally unbelievable. I was one of millions who questioned his motives from the beginning.

Then it all came clear: his cause? $$$MONEY$$$$ Sunday Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos filed a grievance against NFL owners for collusion, alleging the league “entered into an enforced, implied and/or express agreements to specifically deprive” Kaepernick of employment. The grievance also references the “Executive Branch of the United States government,” suggesting President Trump further coerced the league into keeping Kaepernick jobless.

Here’s his problem: the NFL has a contract with the NFL Players Association who represent Kaepernick and all other NFL players. That agreement is called a Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA. Under the terms of the CBA, any dispute is arbitrated based on its terms. Geragos knows the odds against winning in this are monumental. In the CBA  Geragos must provide hard evidence to support his claim. In a lawsuit he would be much more likely to be successful. In discovery in a lawsuit, subpoenas usually grab all documentation necessary to support a claim. In this arbitration, no one can force NFL owners to produce documentation that might support Kaepernick’s claim. So what could the Geragos intentions be? When in doubt, always follow the money.

In 2014, Kaepernick earned $13,073,766; in 2015 $12,054,920; in 2016 $14,300,000. March 1st this year, Kaepernick decided to opt out of the final year of his 49er contract to become an unrestricted free agent. In doing so he gave up $14,500,000 in base salary if he played in 2017. Of course he was certain he would be in high demand by other NFL teams. Not so for Kaepernick — at least through today. There IS $4.9 million leftover from the 49er salary cap due him. But after that, the money runs out.

One would hope that this young guy would have rat-holed a big piece of the dollars he’s earned in his 6 NFL seasons. Whether he has or has not has obviously not tempered his quest for bucks. I have never had to struggle to live within my means making $13 million+. Apparently Kaepernick wants to maintain the NFL quarterback gravy train. I do not believe his intentions are to get a QB job with an NFL team. He understands his protest actions have poisoned his chances. Hiring Geragos to represent him proves one thing to me: Kaep wants to go down swinging while taking a big hunk of NFL money on his way. It is very possible that even though doubtful of winning this arbitration, Geragos knows the NFL desperately wants Kaepernick to go away. Protests are costing the league millions of dollars every week. Middle Americans simply don’t understand. Most detest the protests. What could Geragos be doing? No doubt in my mind he is simply posturing for Kaepernick to settle the arbitration with a hefty paycheck. Geragos knows the NFL does NOT want this process to play out in the press. They want it to go away quickly and as quietly as possible. Probable result: Settlement.

NFL Collusion?

What is up with NFL teams passing over the previously successful 49er signal caller? I know several NFL team owners personally. They see Kaepernick if wearing their team’s jersey as a liability. Can you imagine his signing and the aftermath of that? Any press briefing, any practice, any public appearance would be dominated by the press wanting details from him about his deal and how it all came about. Team members want as little noise not part of NFL practices or games to be part of their daily work. Kaepernick is a magnet for such.

The NFL game — especially offense — is very complicated. Game preparation is exhausting, very detailed, and changes from week to week because of different opponents who each have different game plans. That means the fundamental requirement for every NFL offense is concentration without diversion of any kind. Because of such detailed game planning, I see NO feasible way for any team to avoid distractions with a Colin Kaepernick wearing that team’s jersey. Face it: he’s not Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. And he would not come cheap if he is signed. To all 32 NFL team owners, the risk in signing Kaepernick would not be feasible. THAT’S the real reason why he has not been signed.

I am fearful we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the NFL. Oh, I doubt it will ever entirely go away. But it will certainly continue its decline. If NFL players REALLY want to feed their causes so emphatically, I suggest they find some other ways to protest. Yes they have the right to protest. But so do the NFL owners. They watch the number of those empty seats climb each week.  They REALLY want this National Anthem protest to stop.

Summary

I may not be an “average NFL fan,” but I think I’m not far from that. In the past I’d watch 3-5 NFL games a weekend. Now I watch one game each week: the San Francisco 49ers and whichever team they play. Why? Trent Taylor — #81 — is almost like a son to me. He was drafted in the 5th round, made the 50-man 49er roster, and is playing regularly at wide receiver and punt returner. What an accomplishment in his rookie season! But without Trent, I’d probably be on the sidelines regarding the NFL.

It’s simple: NFL fans spend amazing amounts of money buying tickets, parking permits, merchandise, really expensive concessions at games, buying DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket to watch games they cannot attend, NOT FOR POLITICS OR THE PERSONAL CAUSES OF NFL PLAYERS. Fans just love football and want to watch “their” team play. All of this hoopla about protests during pre-game simply turns NFL fans off. JUST PLAY FOOTBALL! Sure, go protest somewhere else where you can speak more about your cause than silently before a football game. But leave the game alone!

What Next?

NFL TV ratings are plummeting from week to week; game attendance is waning — half empty stadiums in some locations; apathy and anger spreading like a virus through the NFL Fan Nation. Why? These millionaires either don’t know their cause, certainly haven’t made it clear to Americans what it is even if they know, or they simply do not care about their teams, their fans, or the NFL game itself. It’s all about them.

Do you really think all those who are either on a knee, sitting, or staying in the locker-room during the Anthem care about what their actions do to the people who are spending hundreds of dollars each week to support “their” team? The answer is “No.” And if NFL players don’t get this in a hurry, we will be watching the beginning of the end of the NFL. Fans simply cannot relate. Fans understand one thing: the average NFL player makes a couple of million dollars a year. The minimum amount any NFL player makes this season is $29,000 and change PER GAME! Not a bad day’s work doing something most of them would actually do for free.

I love football, but not so much that I feel compelled to participate in the “Kaepernick Cause” from week to week. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell better get a handle on this quickly. If he doesn’t and if the players don’t realize that their protest portrayed in its present form is summarily rejected by millions of NFL football fans, the NFL is done. Where else in business do you ever see employees either ignoring  or laughing at their customers? Nowhere else — just in the NFL.

As far as Colin Kaepernick: I’m pretty sure he will not wear an NFL uniform for quite some time. And unfortunately for him, I think his arbitration will be either withdrawn or lost pretty quickly.

It’s all up to Kaepernick and Goodell. Stuck in the middle are all us NFL fans.

 


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