BlackBall

Weeks after the start of free agency in the NFL, many players have either resigned to their team from the 2016-2017 season or found a new team to call home. Since free agency opened back on March 7th, we’ve seen players like Brandon Marshall, DeSean Jackson, and Latavius Murray switch teams. There were also plenty of quarterbacks on the market who signed with new teams this season. As a matter of fact, many quarterbacks flew off the market this offseason. Many except for one: Colin Kaepernick.

I’m pretty sure you heard by now how Mr. Kaepernick decided to not stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against minorities and then after the season ended, he end his protest. Well now even though Kaepernick has ended his protest, teams are still passing up on him for other quarterbacks that aren’t much better than him.

“Well, he’s just a bad football player.” That’s bull. You mean to tell me that a guy like Mark Sanchez can get signed to a team even though the last time he was in a game he stunk it up like the butt he ran into almost five years ago, but Kaepernick can’t get signed? Let me get you to understand that this is the same Colin Kaepernick that led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in the same timeframe and almost did it again a year later. Even though the read offense is all but dead in today’s NFL, Colin Kaepernick still has the talent to play for a team and, with the right coaches and players, run a good offense. And many NFL teams know this.

So why is Mr. Kaepernick still waiting in the unemployment line? Because he has fallen into the same game that other athletes who stood for something fall into, blackball. Guys like Chris Jackson and Craig Hodges who spoke out against injustices in America in a notable way would find themselves informally banned from their pro league, never able to find another club to sign him again (In their case, the NBA). Now Kaepernick has found himself in the same game with the NFL. NFL owners won’t touch him due to the controversy surrounding his anthem protest last season and they’ll use his play as of late as an excuse to not sign him. Yet those same owners will go out and sign guys like Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and, EJ Manuel. Even Johnny Manzeil might get a second chance after not being in the league for a whole year and he has a chance to play under Sean Payton and mentored by Drew Brees.

Colin Kaepernick’s situation should be a reminder of what happens when black athletes use their platform to take action on injustices in America. Kaepernick’s actions was a spit in the face of the majority white management in the NFL just as Chris Jackson and Craig Hodges’ actions were in the face of the majority white management of the NBA.

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The Madness

With almost two full rounds of matchups, the 2017 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament is shaping up to be another exciting tourney. After the rounds of 64, we’ve seen teams like the University of Rhode Island, and Mid Tennesse upset higher ranked teams. And with the round of 32 underway, we have already seen the likes of FSU, and even defending champion Villanova fall.  Now with the guarantee of a new champion being crowned, the tourney just got even more interesting.

So far for the Sweet 16, there’s Wisconsin vs. Florida, Gonzaga vs. West Virginia, and Xavier vs. Arizona, with more matchups to form by the end of the day. After losses from Villanova, and Louisville, many fans have already found their tournament brackets busted before sunset yesterday. As the tournament continues, more brackets will be busted as the Sweet 16 showcases matchups that will have fans uncertain about higher-ranked teams making it to the Elite Eight.

Even so, this year’s tournament promises excitement, uncertainty, and heartbreak as college teams watch their hopes of going to Phoenix dashed and fans watch their hopes of having a perfect bracket tear to pieces. As for me, my bracket is down but not out. Even though my matchup up of Villanova vs. North Carolina in a rematch from last year won’t happen, I did have North Carolina winning it all 74-70so there’s still hope.

Standing Tall

Last season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick stirred up plenty of controversy for his decision to not stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Now, Colin Kaepernick is causing controversy again, but for doing the opposite this time.

Last week, Kaepernick announced that he will end his protest of the national anthem and stand during the anthem next season. Now even though Kaepernick has decided to end his protest, many people are still angry at Kaepernick for ending his protest.

Kaepernick already faced a plethora of hate from what many felt was “disrespecting the country”, he receives more backlash for ending his protest right before free agency.  People think that he ended his protest just so he could have a better chance of being re-signed by the 49ers, or signed by another team during free agency.

Honestly, I think his decision to kneel and now stand during the anthem are both justified. When he protested, he started a movement that brought light to the police brutality issue that America is facing. While police brutality was already a hot topic in the country, Kaepernick’s protest helped bring this topic to a bigger audience. Throughout his protest, Kaepernick was able to bring more awareness while also inspiring other athletes to follow in his footsteps and protest for justice.

And when he decided to stand again, I think at this point he realized that although he has brought awareness to this issue, there are still unarmed citizens being hurt and killed by police brutality. There is but so much a peaceful protest can do.