Former NFL Players Are Facing Consequences For Telling Their Truths

    Consequences exist throughout life and children learn very early that decisions dont always lead to favorable outcomes. Fair or not, every time individuals gather enough strength to address a government or corporate entity for grievances, whatever those grievances might be, there will be a large amount of push back. 

    Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is suffering from that push back right now. Kap, a former Pro Bowl quarterback who holds QB rushing records left and right, is sitting at home watching the likes of Blake Bortles barely eke out a win. He’s clearly being punished for being the catalyst for a movement, but he certainly is not the only one that was punished.  

    Sure, no current general manager, head coach or team owner would readily admit it, but the only reason Kaepernick did not play on an NFL team this season was due to his political stance against police brutality and social injustice in America.

    All of those speaking to the contrary where simply blowing smoke. Veteran cornerback Antonio Cromarties wife Terricka had this to say about why her husband isnt playing anymore via a since-deleted private post on Instagram.

    You are Nothing More than an Entertainer. Just Shut up and do what we say. You have No rights as along as you are working for me.. there are other places for you to fight and stand for what you believe Smh Maybe I read something different.. one things for sure I know my husband was told Not to take a Knee and he went with his heart and he took one. And that cost him his Job.. and Clearly this Statement backs that up Just Paid To put on a show.. SMH

    NY Daily News Sports on Twitter

    Ex-Jet Antonio Cromartie says protesting during national anthem while on Colts ‘is the reason’ he’s unemployed https://t.co/D6PQCjFEFL

    Antonio kneeled during the national anthem several times during the season before being released by the Indianapolis Colts in October. Colts owners Jim Irsay, one of a multitude of NFL owners who supported Donald Trumps presidential campaign with a $1 million contribution, has expressed his opinion that football was the wrong venue to protest several times in the past. So, we disrespect the word coincidence by insisting that Cromarties departure was one. 

    There are coincidences, then there are clear instances of cause and effect. 

     In September 2016, cornerback Marcus Ball was released by the Carolina Panthers.  He worked hard on the practice squad for a year before being called up to the big show.

    “Before kickoff, they played the national anthem, as they always do. I stood. I honored the flag. I prayed. I sang,” Ball said in an article for Sports Illustrated. “But I also acknowledged the protests and recent events that had been building around the country and recently in Charlotte. (That very week, a black man had been fatally shot by a police officer in the city.) During the anthem, I made a gesture, holding up my right hand with my index finger pointing toward the sky to God. I didnt realize it, but I was the only guy on the team to make any sort of gesture that day.”

    Ball, who says he didnt even mean for his gesture of unity to be construed as a protest, was re-signed to the Carolina practice squad after initially being cut and went on to finish the season in San Francisco, toiled in the Canadian Football League where he was part of two Grey Cup championship winning teams. He believes new revelations of Carolina owner Jerry Richardsons usage of a racial slur toward a scout of African-American descent is proof that he was in fact cut due to simply pointing to the sky.

    Complex Sports on Twitter

    Former Panthers safety Marcus Ball suspects he was cut for national anthem gesture. https://t.co/Gs3Oc2dWZ2

    To be certain, there is absolutely zero proof that a marginal NFL practice squad player was cut for a gesture that was misinterpreted as a protest and that it led to his departure from Carolina. But the volatile political atmosphere COULD have led to his departure. 

    Speculation aside, everything is political these days, and the old boys network of NFL ownership appears to be about as sensitive as a bare foot in a blizzard toward anyone using the national anthem to protest institutional racism and the prevailing tenets of white supremacy.  

    Indeed, Damontre Moore was cut by the Dallas Cowboys after raising a fist at the end of the anthem this season.  This, after team owner Jerry Jones publicly stated his belief that players should stand during the anthem, is clearly a case of swift retribution from an owner who simply cannot relate, or refuses to relate, to the plight of his black players.

    However, in the case of Cromartie, Ball and countless others, the air of ambiguity that surrounds each players departure from their prior employ, as well as the fact that none of the aforementioned players are stellar, makes it easier to drop the ax on them. As has been said many ways, but none more eloquently than Ice-T on his 1989 single The Iceberg, Freedom of speech, just watch what you say.  

    Yes, American citizens have the right to freedom of speech.  No, there is no freedom from the repercussion of free speech.

    Its not fair, but stardom affords Marshawn Lynch the ability to sit during the anthem. Practice squad players, and others whore barely in the league, do temporarily place their immediate financial futures in jeopardy when they protest. They need to be mindful.  After all, nobodys going to save you. Being mindful of consequences doesnt define one as a coward, it marks one as a realist.