Josh Hicks is a contributor to WARR and The D & Davis Show
Miami Dolphins star quarterback Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL during training camp, putting him on the sidelines for the 2017 season.
In dire need of a replacement, Colin Kaepernick was available for assignment. However, the Dolphins went a different direction, begging former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to come out of retirement and paying him 10 million dollars to be their new go-to signal caller.
The move did not just come across as despising to many, but also discriminatory and signalling the act of a blackballing amongst white NFL owners towards Kaepernick.
Last season, Kaepernick’s performance numbers were far better than Cutler’s. The 34 year-old former Bear threw for 1,059 yards with a 59 percent completion rating, four touchdowns, five interceptions, 33 percent QBR, while starting only five games due to injuries.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick started 11 games, threw for 2,241 yards with a 59 percent completion rating, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 55 QBR. Not to mention Kaep has more playoff experience under his resumé with a trip to the Super Bowl to his credit, while Cutler only has won one playoff game.
Both players may have similar completion percentages, but Kaepernick is still proven as the more sturdy and mobile quarterback befitting the style that most NFL teams are in search of.
Quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and Ryan Fitzpatrick earned contracts quickly during the offseason to live another day in the NFL, but none could be said to have lived up to the expectations of a winning quarterback like Kaepernick has. So if that is what NFL teams are looking for, why is Kaepernick still unsigned?
Remember Their Names
Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and Laquan McDonald — only a select few of the people that over the past few years have joined the list of assassinated citizens done so through acts of police brutality across the nation. In Chicago, police brutality occurs towards black and brown children everyday. According to a recent Chicago Tribune study, at least 2,623 bullets were fired by police in 435 shootings. In 235 of those incidents, officers struck at least one person.
About four out of every five people shot by police were African-American males, according to that same report, and about half of the officers involved in shootings were African-American or Hispanic.
No such police-sanctioned violence happened this past weekend as white supremacists engaged in a protest called “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, VA — the protesters dished out plenty of their own. In clashing with counter-demonstrators several violent altercations erupted, most noticably a car ploughing into a crowd of anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators that wound up killing one of those counter-demonstrators, Heather Heyer. Inadvertantly, but still connected to the white supremacist march, two Charlottesville police slso died in an helicopter crash while surveying the hectic scene below them.
A swift reaction to the Charlottesville tragedy has caused some more strident statement and protest from members of the NFL community than we’ve ever seen along with more strident opposition from those who seek not to “disrespect” the American flag and what it supposedly stands for.
Colin Kaepernick knows that symbols mean something – its why he started his protest in the first place, why he’s slyly done things like wear socks with pigs dressed as policemen on them (a much less egregious offense in hindsight than it was originally depicted, especially in the wake of events like Charlottesville) and why he’s used his platform to spark a conscious, nation-wide awareness that people across the world support.
Kaepernick’s call against the everyday trend of black and brown mothers shedding waterfalls of tears down their faces, seeing their teenagers in caskets buried six feet under with a “Gone Too Soon” tombstone, his call for the termination of discrimination, inequality amongst the diverse backgrounds that help make up this great country is continually being mistaken as disrespect to the American flag.
Black athletes across all major leagues support the movement, but the mostly white ownership’s preferred “sports-only” chemistry is being disoriented and even his pockets are becoming affected due to TV ratings being lower than past years. The Baltimore Ravens owner purposely hired a former Arena Football League quarterback to serve as a backup to Joe Flacco so that they will not have to deal with Kaepernick’s “shananigans,” even though vocalized support of Kaep has been offered by members of the Ravens coaching staff and their players.
NFL owners, the league is employed by 70 percent African–American males – if more and more of the 70 percent continue to speak out against the injustices, your silence on the situation will become less and less effective. The situation you are creating projects an more fruitful environment and opportunity for an uprising.
If Kaepernick is still unsigned at the beginning of the NFL season, be prepared for a call to action spreading throughout your ranks, supported by fans both current and former, like you have never seen before.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio