Sports Illustrated Cover Rewrites History Without Kaepernick

Recently, Sports Illustrated published their October issue with a photoshopped collage featuring NBA stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, WNBA star Candace Parker and several other athletes who have come to the fore in the media spotlight due to their recent words and actions regarding protest, American-style oppression and the right to free speech.  Indeed, it was only right and expected that a publication like Sports Illustrated would craft a cover that its editorial staff felt properly depicted the goings on of the past month.

Mikel Jollett on Twitter

The Sports Illustrated “protest” cover includes a man who gave a $1,000,000 to Trump but not Colin Kaepernick who lost his career over it.

However, as seems to be the case whenever mainstream publications attempt to cover issues pertaining to black struggle, protest and resistance, they struck out. 

Several days ago, ESPN Max Kellermen of First Take mentioned Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers as someone he felt should have spoken up sooner, and more vehemently, in defense of Colin Kaepernick. Lo and behold, just days later Aaron Rodgers was on my television screen speaking out in favor of unity and togetherness. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had been on record as saying he did not believe Colin Kaepernick was being blackballed for his stance on police brutality and institutional racism.  

He has been elusive and intentionally obtuse regarding the matter.  Even going so far as to proclaim himself to not be a football expert when asked why Kap still wasnt employed not long ago. Jags owner Shahid Khan, who is one of seven NFL owners who gave a million dollars to Donald J. Trumps campaign for the presidency, has gone on record to say that he would consider giving Kap a shot.  However, hard-nosed GM Tom Coughlin has since machine-gunned any hopes that Colin would ever be a Jaguar, going so far as to say he wasnt going to explain to the media why he was not going to sign him.

LeBron James and Steph Curry have each been at the forefront of athletes who speak truth to power regarding some of the most pressing race and societal issues of the day.  However, with all due respect, none of them has put their career on the line to back up their words. 

It was terrible, just kind of capitalizing on the hoopla and the media and all that nonsense said Curry, one of the 10 people whose images appear on the cover of the Oct. 2 issue. The real people that are understanding exactly whats been going on and whos really been active and vocal, truly making a difference you dont have Kaepernick front and center on that, somethings wrong.

The WNBA has always been far more lenient in how it allows its players to express themselves regarding societal issues and hot button topics of the day. Candace Parker is simply following an already established tradition in the  league with her words and actions in support of Kaepernick.

Additionally, Michael Bennett, as gangster as he has been regarding his willingness to continue Kaps protest and inspire others to do so, did not make a move until after Kaepernick. Oakland As catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to protest by taking a knee during the national anthem about a week ago.  Not trying to tarnish the man’s shine, but where was he months ago?

The Shadow League on Twitter

Courtesy of @sfchronicle, the A’s Bruce Maxwell becomes the first MLB to kneel during the National Anthem.

As most of us know by now, all hell hit the fan on Friday when Donald J. Trump called anyone protesting during the national anthem sons of bitches during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama to support a Republican candidate.  

WATCH- Athletes Clap Back At Trump

Athletes vs Trump

Since that time, over 200 NFL players took a knee to either continue Kaps protest, protest Kaps absence or for the abstract idea of national unity and “togetherness”. Even some NFL owners got in on it.

New York Daily News on Twitter

SEE IT: Jerry Jones takes a knee with Cowboys while locking arms, but team stands during national anthem

Its funny how everybody is running around taking a knee for unity when Black people have been trying to peacefully merge into mainstream America for centuries, only to be told that we were somehow unworthy of brotherhood.  Now, after some have shown the gumption to risk a great deal to bring light to the ongoing dereliction of justice inherent in police shootings of unarmed black men going unprosecuted, everybody and their Momma, their Mommas Momma and their Mommas, Mommas Momma is taking a knee. On social media, on television, and high school volleyball games, you name the place and Ill show you somebody with dusty knees. 


As was to be expected, a great deal has been lost in translation. To be clear, this isnt about national unity, or desecrating the flag, or any of that nutball nonsense that has muddied the entire scenario.  This is about police brutality and the oppression of people of color in America, period. 

When Kaep first took a knee, many, many people went straight for the jugular.  After all, groupthink is what nationalism really is.  However, American-style nationalism and institutional racism, like Batman and Bruce Wayne, are one in the same. Now the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction as even NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr has spoken out 

As is often the case when an idea is usurped for mainstream consumption, the soul is left out. When Sports Illustrated published its cover without Colin Kaepernick, the very soul of the movement, theyre actually helping shift the narrative away from what was originally intended. 

Heres what Sports Illustrated Executive Director Stephen Cannella had to say about the matter.

Explaining Sports Illustrated’s controversial cover

SI executive editor Steve Cannella explains the rationale behind Sports Illustrated’s recent cover, depicting sports’ response to Donald Trump’s recen

In some ways, even though his picture is not there, Colin Kaepernick is there; I think we all know that, Cannella said. Colin Kaepernickfor lack of a better wordwas looming over everything that happened this past weekend, and looms over many issues in society right now.

These days, as those who support the status quo with legitimate ambiguity shuffle along skirting conformity and change, explanations regarding behavior, apathy and inaction are flying all over the place.  And SIs executive director didnt change that narrative one bit with the double-talking drivel. Kaepernicks not there but he’s really is there? 

Stop it.  

So, youre saying Kap was left off the cover for some pie-in-the-sky artistic interpretation of his impact on the current movement?  Im sorry, but no one would have picked up on that. So, thats why I dont believe that was the point at all. Is Sports Illustrated purposefully trying to rewrite Kaepernick out of the current narrative? Well, it doesnt really matter whether it was on purpose or not because thats what they effectively did by omitting him from the cover.

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