Colin Kaepernick Calls Out NFL’s Black Lives Matter ‘Propaganda’ On Opening Weekend

Sports leagues across the US have been protesting against racial inequality for the past month, but many are starting to wonder how genuine these organizations are in their message.

Embed from Getty Images

During the NFL’s opening Sunday game, teams across the league opted to stay in the locker room during the Star Spangled Banner and performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing; commonly referred to as the Black national anthem. Before each game, the NFL also began playing a video that highlights the struggles Black people in America are facing today, however, this video has prompted many NFL fans, and former athletes, to call out the organization for their hypocrisy in displaying their ‘support’ for a movement that they previously fired an athlete over showing his support for. 

The athlete in question is of course Colin Kaepernick, who started the entire leagues movement to take a knee during the anthem in 2016, however, at the time, Kaepernick was fired for the display. He recently took to Twitter to discuss his disdain over the NFL’s recent displays of support for Black Lives Matter despite continuing to “blackball” Eric Reid. 

Reid was the first player who joined Kaepernick in his 2016 kneeling protests against anti-Black racism. The two men were teammates on the San Francisco 49ers at the time, and both struggled to find work within the league after their departures from the team. Kaepernick hasn’t played for the NFL since his departure, however, Reid was eventually picked up by the Carolina Panthers. 

“While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community. Eric is one of the best defensive players in the league.”

Reid left the Panthers earlier this year after a series of suspicious circumstances that shocked fans; especially considering Reid is still so young and in his prime playing years. When he initially joined the team, he was “randomly selected” to be drug tested 6 times within an 11 week period. According to data regarding pro sports drug testing, the chances of Reid being randomly chosen six times within 11 weeks was .17%. 

The issue of Black athletes being disproportionately tested for drugs has been an issue across all professional sports for years now. Back in 2018, Serena Williams made headlines after it came out that she was one of the most drug tested tennis players in the league; and also the most decorated in history. Williams was tested five times within one year, while the average number of times other players were tested was about two. 

Other teams are joining in and speaking out against the league they still play for. The Jacksonville Jaguars stayed in the locker room during the national anthems on Sunday, something they stated to fans that they were planning on doing before the game began. 

Embed from Getty Images

“We decided to stay in the locker room to continue raising awareness of racial injustice against the Black community. We hope that all will seek to understand the reason for it.”

Embed from Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets joined the Jaguars protesting efforts by also staying in their locker rooms for the anthems during Sunday’s kick-off. Washington players kneeled during the anthem while their opponent, the Eagles, walked off the field. 

The reopening of the NFL was already met with a lot of controversy in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, after months of anti-racism protests following the police killing of George Floyd, the professional sports industry in general has been called out numerous times for profiting off of Black athletes ands their talent, but doing little to nothing to actually support racial equality. 

Kaepernick, among many others, believes the NFL especially hasn’t done nearly enough to prove their loyalty to protecting Black lives. Last month, when Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back seven times by Kenosha police, protests began making their way into pro sports leagues, starting with the NBA. Multiple teams from the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS all announced they would be postponing their games in protest over the multitude of racial injustices Black individuals face in America. 

Fans have been less than thrilled over these displays of protest. Last week a video circulated online of fans at the Kansas City Chief’ Arrowhead Stadium booing the players while they linked arms for a simple “moment of unity” where messages such as “we must end racism” and “we must choose unconditional love” were supplied on the scoreboard. 

“I mean the booing during that moment was unfortunate. I don’t fully understand that. There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved other than two teams coming together to show unity,” said JJ Watt, Houston’s star defensive end. In June, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the league should’ve listened in 2016 and made more of an effort to discuss racism and end police brutality. Only time will tell if the league actually decides to put their money where their mouth is.

Eric Mastrota

Contributing Editor

Eric Mastrota graduated with a degree in English, Creative Writing, and Journalism. His goal is to create content that readers find entertaining, informative and most importantly, beneficial.