Joe “Champ” Tanksley is a co-founder of Weareregalradio.com and an amateur football scout and analyst
I’ve been a fan of the NFL and the Chicago Bears in particular since I could remember.
As most Bears fans I’ve suffered through the ups and downs of the franchise for the past several seasons. I’ve listened to coaches and GMs as they’ve tried to sell their plans for improving the future only to see more of the same subpar-mediocre football next season.
And after all the wooden nickels and failed promises, I, like other have fans always approached each new NFL season with hope and excitement. But lately I’ve struggled to get excited about remotely related to the Chicago Bears and the NFL in general.
Coupled with my disappointment of the state of the Bears, they along with the rest of NFL have forced me to evaluate my morals and values as a fan and a person of color. I’ve watched as the team I cheer for pass on a quarterback with superior athletic skills, strong character in the face of adversity and a Super Bowl appearance on his resume only to sign a guy that is less talented and that hasn’t proven as much in Mike Glennon.
We already know, from the 2012 NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, that a Vic Fangio coached defense paired with an offense with Colin Kapernick at quarterback can make it to the Super Bowl. It seems like he would have been a great fit for the franchise. As an activist for justice and with the issues this city has surrounding violence, public education and law enforcement could have been a beacon for our community.
We’ve witnessed firsthand his commitment to our community through his protest of the national anthem and in his most recent visit to Chicago, where he was able mentor and inspire a number of young black youth and young men and women from across the city.
How does someone like Colin Kaepernick get blackballed by the NFL? When so many other players have had to deal with various transgressions, from rape, domestic violence, drunk driving, drug use, etc. only to be given another opportunity to play for the league? His protest for justice was that detrimental to the NFL that it seems he won’t be given another opportunity to play in the league.
It’s crazy to think that teams in the NFL would knowingly rather fool with players with lesser talent and questionable character, rather than someone that has stood in the face of adversity to be a champion for a community that needed one. I guess the NFL and its owners have determined that Kaepernick is bad for business. Social justice and equality don’t fit into the bottom line.
Think about that – justice and equality for an entire community of African-Americans is bad for business. Above all, that is what Colin Kaepernick has proven that he stands for.
How should I feel as a black man and as a fan of the sport, when someone that represents me is being blackballed for the sake of a dollar? How can I stand up for Colin Kaepernick the way he has stood up for me and for our community? He has done nothing wrong and deserves an opportunity to play.
As a black man and fan of the sport I have strong personal feelings about a league that won’t hire a man that has used his platform to stand up for his community and I do not know if I can support a team or a league that does not value all of its fans in the same regard.
For that reason, I’ve decided not to support anything NFL related going forward.
I will not give professional football any of my money until Kaepernick gets a real opportunity to play. I encourage other black people like me that feel the same way to take a similar stance, for Colin’s sake.
I just wonder what it would be like if we all got off the sidelines to stand with Colin Kapernick, if we all show the commitment that he’s so obviously shown us and that he’s unfairly paid a career’s price for.
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