James J.B. Brown is a three-time Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster who at times appears to be the most objective speaker among the legions of talking heads on the major networks.
This season, NFL Today will go into it’s 50 season on CBS, and J.B. will be there steering the ship.
Always intelligent and insightful, the veteran of 40 plus years in the business sat down to speak with The Shadow League regarding the hot button issues facing the NFL. The hottest of said topics is the ongoing unemployment of Colin Kaepernick.
My attitude is were all given the privilege of the First Amendment Right, said Brown. Im also mindful that it is a limited right, and also mindful that there could be interests involved here. Owners interests and reactions, sponsors. From a team standpoint, whether or not the chemistry is going to be there. Will they begrudge him his rights? From a reporters standpoint, Id like to hear Colin Kaepernick about what his endgame is and how he plans to pursue whatever it is hes doing from this point forward.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has been under fire seemingly on a continuous basis for years. The recent alleged blackballing of Kaepernick is only the latest among his many perceived slights to portions of the leagues fan base.
Even with the commissioners statement, I know there were many people who probably thought it was equivocating, but I thought he was spot on,” said Brown. “On the one hand, his comment was that he supports the players right to do that. And he should, even if he disagrees with the manner of these protests or the way Kaep is making his feelings known. But by the same token, he also represents the owners.
There are 31 different corporations behind the NFL shield, one of them is a public owned franchise, and they certainly have the right to make determinations and decisions based upon what they feel is best for their organization. I think at the end of the day, they also make an assessment in terms of his football interests to do whatever it takes to be beneficial to his team. There are many elements in those parameters that I delineated for you.
CBS host James Brown talks about masculinity on Thursday Night Football pregame show before Ravens game
TSL: What are some of the storylines youre looking forward to exploring this upcoming season?
JB: From a personal standpoint, weve got four rookie quarterbacks (DeShone Kizer of the Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, Mitchell Trubisky of the Chicago Bears, Patrick Mahomes II of the Kansas City Chiefs). Im looking forward to seeing how they make their adjustment into the mindset of professional football. Do you remember back in the day when a rookie quarterback would be given three to five years of holding the clipboard on the sidelines. That game out there is a radically different game – the speed, the decision-making, and the quality of talent that permeates the NFL.
Im also looking to see, from a team psyche standpoint, how the Atlanta Falcons rebound. I know the game is two halves, but they were absolutely dominant in that first half (of the Super Bowl). The vaunted New England Patriots came back to win. Im wondering what kind of impact that will have on the Falcons psyche in general. Im also interested in seeing what the New England Patriots will do. In a league that is designed for parity, they are a dynasty.
TSL: Carolina Panthers rookie RB Christian McCaffrey has been raising eyebrows in the preseason. However, he has many naysayers who base their evaluation of his talent on race. Thus, introducing bigotry into their evaluation.
JB: That type of stereotyping youre referring to is real, on both sides. Football, to me, is the ultimately meritocracy. What he can get done on the field is going to carry the day. In that locker room, irrespective of your persuasion or race, they are only concerned about one thing; can you get it done! Can you play? Its no different than what African Americans may be thinking when they see a Caucasian cornerback or defensive back. Lets go after him! But can he get the job done?
If he can get the job done color doesnt matter. If he can help us win, put him out there. Howie Long went through the same thing at defensive end, and Howie Long got it done! Cris Collinsworth did as well as a wide receiver back in the day until they found out he was a state champion in the 100-yard dash. Talent always prevails.