The public memorial for George Floyd in Minneapolis is taking place today. I’m crying as I watch the cornucopia of people joining together in solidarity. A union of this magnitude is the worst nightmare for those divisive forces in our country.
It will rehash all of the pain that America has been feeling since Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, with the help of three other officers, who will appear in court today.
Wouldn’t it be an amazing boost to the country, the morale of our nation, and our belief in it, if Roger Goodell reinstated Colin Kaepernick and placed him on a roster TODAY.
Actually now is the moment for Roger Goodell to step to a microphone and offer a full and complete apology to Mr. Kaepernick. To announce his commitment to supporting Mr. Kaepernick ‘s charities. And to signing Mr. Kaepernick to an NFL team. https://t.co/2RdyQ2B3VA
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) May 30, 2020
He wouldn’t just be supporting a football player wronged by the League under his watch, but Kaepernick and his negative treatment by NFL owners for kneeling for social justice and bringing attention to police brutality, has become a symbol of how Black people and their concerns are marginalized in this country.
There has actually been a revival of support for Kaepernick’s actions in light of the George Floyd murder and some, previously critical of his stance, have reconsidered their understanding of why he kneeled and how an army Green Beret named Nate Boyer told him that kneeling was a sign of respect for the soldiers. Others, such as Drew Brees, haven’t.
Reinstating Kap would be the equivalent of Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947.
What has Roger Goodell ever REALLY done to improve NFL culture? Sure, we know about his masterful ability to cut deals and generate revenue for the League’s owners. That’s why they pay him $25 million a season to run the brand. Other than making the NFL money, he’s had some of the most embarrassing social justice flops and social media nightmares in NFL history on his watch.
From the Ray Rice incident and the way that was handled to what some would call inequitable treatment of African-American players, to the Colin Kapernick blackballing and anthem controversy which will forever be a stain on the integrity of the league.
Let’s not forget the embarrassing lack of progress the NFL has mad with hiring qualified Black candidates to leadership gigs. There are currently just four minority coaches in the NFL and two Black General managers in a 32-team league.
No Real Legacy
The fake social justice/entertainment deal he struck with Jay-Z was supposed to be his moment to connect to the Black football community. That hasn’t produced many results.
If we reflect on Goodell’s career RIGHT NOW, he won’t be remembered as a guy who was on the right side of history. Just another capitalist putting profit over people. We’ve had plenty of those in American history. If he wants to really have a legacy that will separate him from other commissioners and be recognized as a leader who didn’t cower from the tough spot, the tough moment, Goodell would finally do what the world knows is right and make an executive order and put Colin Kaepernick back in the league and on a team.
It would be his shining moment and endear him to Americans across the country.
Kaepernick’s plight is known internationally as well, so Goodell’s name would ring overseas. He’d forever be known as the crusading commissioner who refused to let his league continue to be recognized by many Black people as a symbol of racism and oppression.
The George Floyd protests in the aftermath of his murder, combined with the COVID-19 crisis and 40 million people unemployed and struggling to feed their families has caused tremendous stress throughout the country. People are protesting and burning cities to the ground. President Trump’s attempt to use military force on innocent American citizens has compounded that problem.
Yes, we all respect money in America, but once — maybe just once — Goodell can finally listen to the people and not his 1 percent, rich, white, and curmudgeonous base. Do something that will really distinguish his legacy. Something that 100 years from now people will look back at his accomplishments and say, “Oh that’s the guy that did the right thing, helped heal a scarred and wounded nation by reinstituting Kaepernick, who should have never been blackballed from the league by owners in the first place.”
Yes, The Blackballing of Colin Kaepernick is one of the great sins in American sports history and it happened on Goodell’s watch. It’s time for him to show that he’s not just a puppet for NFL owners.
It’s time for him to really see past the gold coins and do something for his legacy. Do something to help heal the country. He’s taken enough.