It was only last year that Colin Kaepernicks protest began. To date, he has yet to sign with an NFL team, which resulted in his filing a lawsuit against the National Football League for collusion.
As if the 2017 news cycle hasnt already been on some other sh*t like faux fur in July, the NFL has reportedly agreed to support criminal justice legislation meant to curb the grisly gnashing of black lives against a monstrous automaton.
Familiarity with its acrid breath, million mile reach and ravenous appetite justifies calling the criminal justice system monstrous. So, much props are due on the news that Roger Goodell and the NFL plan on doing more than simply interacting and communicating with the contingent of athletes led by Malcolm Jenkins, Anquan Boldin, and Michael Bennett that have elevated their voices about the need for America to address its inherent societal inequities. I’d bet a thousand dollars vice president Troy Vincent played a significant role as well.
(28 Mar 2017) Several NFL players gather on Capitol Hill, pushing Members of Congress to enact meaningful changes to the nation’s criminal justice system. Malcolm Jenkins of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, free-agent wide receiver Anquan Boldin and other players were meeting with members of Congress this week to push for legislation that leads to improved relationships between minority communities and local police.
Though enthusiasm on anyones part can hardly be blamed, especially if that anyone is black or brown, similar legislation was killed in the past by Republicans like then Senator Jeff Sessions, who is now the Attorney General.
Broken by ESPN’s Jim Trotter via Twitter, “the NFL is going to formally endorse criminal justice legislation” that surfaced early in October and has garnered support from several players lobbying for reformed sentencing guidelines. This has since been confirmed by NFL Network’s Judy Battista.
I’m being told NFL is going to formally endorse federal criminal justice legislation being proposed by at least 1 plyr. No comment from NFL.
To be certain, this has been an incredible display of altruism by the National Football League. This is especially so considering how many owners gave a million dollars to Donald Trump for his inauguration. A milli is a lot of money and a raging hard-on of an endorsement for an ostensible madman. It would seem that the league has come around several degrees from this time last year.
Also, it is an unprecedented example of African American athletes leveraging their power as partners with a megacorporation instead operating from a paradigm in which they are simply “the help”. A runaway slaves wildest, most delirious dreams seemingly manifesting.
But the fact remains that Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed.
The legislation first came to light via Politico several weeks ago.
“…aimed at easing sentences for some non-violent offenders, such as for drug crimes, while beefing up other tough-on-crime laws,” represents a victory for peaceful-protest-driven activism, according to former NFL executive Joe Banner.
Again, this is a victory. But the current environment on Capitol Hill and in the Oval Office has to make one pause short of celebrating.
“[This] is a big win for players on the issues they brought up if they can get past [the] method of protest,” Banner tweeted Monday. “Seize the moment.”
This is likely only the beginning of formal league efforts spurned by Goodell’s talks with players in the effort to turn player protests into action.
Trotter said in an appearance on “Outside The Lines” that the NFL is also discussing the creation of a PSA campaign regarding social issues and the potential for owners to organize meetings between players and politicians. The league has also reportedly agreed to finance a social activism boot camp at Morehouse College in February.
According to Politico, the legislation is led by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and is aimed at easing sentences for some non-violent offenders while beefing up other tough-on-crime laws. It will also do away with the three-strikes mandatory life sentence for repeat drug offenders but would allow some with previous convictions for serious violent crime and serious drug felonies.
I placed quotes around several adjectives because, when it comes to law enforcement in America, it tends to be subjective. A serious crime for a Mexican American likely will still be far different than what is considered a serious crime by your average white man.
But getting rid of three-strikes would be great nonetheless.
And what of Colin Kaepernick, the brother who likely sacrificed his career to get this whole shindig rolling?
He recently engaged in a lawsuit accusing the NFL of collusion. The likelihood of his success, according to some experts, is extremely low. Failure would likely extinguish the last ember of his career as an NFL player. But what’s he done beyond that just may be his ultimate calling.