Consequences for Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick Sentenced to NFL Limbo for the Crime of Speaking His Mind

Based on the headline, this writer (or whoever wrote the headline) seems to disagree with the NFL execs. I myself am pleased with this result, so I’m wondering whether any others agree with the writer.

As I see it, there are really two issues:

[li]Do you agree with the sentiment Kaepernick was expressing? (Meaning, not whether you agree that there are racial issues in the US, but whether you agree that kneeling for the anthem is appropriate in light of these.)[/li][li]Assuming you don’t agree with Kaepernick’s actions/speech, do you think that free speech principles would require that people be shielded from the (lawful) consequences of that speech at the hands of citizens who disagree?[/li][/ol]

I myself would answer no to both questions.

While ordinarily I think it’s bad business policy for employers (or even potential employers) to get involved with the political expressions of their employees, I think it’s different here in that Kaepernick’s actions were done in the course of his employment. But even if that were not the case, that would only be a matter of business policy and not any sort of inherent right, I would think.

[Note: the above presumes that this writer is correct about the specific factors in Kaepernick’s present employment situation. Nonetheless, the issues themselves exist notwithstanding.]

Yes, I agree with his sentiment

No, he should not be shielded from actions that private businesses or individuals do as a result.

Actually on rereading my words, I think I may have phrased the second issue poorly. I wasn’t intending to ask whether there should be some sort of legal shield for a person in that situation. My question was more about whether it’s morally proper for people to “punish” others in that manner. IOW, suppose I object to Kaepernick’s sentiment and action, is it proper to avoid hiring the guy and/or boycott his games, or is there some Voltarian principle which would say to refrain from that?

Yes, I agree with his sentiment (or at least I think it’s an appropriate sort of protest for a legitimate injustice).

I think it’s morally wrong to punish him for expressing this sentiment (he did play football, but didn’t cooperate with all the trappings – unless his contract demanded that he stand for the national anthem, I don’t think his actions count as strictly contrary to the course of his employment), but that’s only because I think his sentiment is appropriate and reasonable. I don’t believe any teams should be obligated to sign him or consider him or do anything with regards to him based on his actions. I don’t believe in principle that it’s wrong to boycott/not hire someone based on an expression of politics or philosophy that didn’t conflict with their duties (playing football, in this case). I wouldn’t call anyone not hiring him for this reason hypocrites, or violators of any principle/1st-amendment, or anything like that – I’d just say that they’re wrong because his actions were reasonable, IMO.

If that’s not clear, I can try to explain it in a different way.

In the NFL? I doubt there is anything that a player could do that would cause fans to stop watching football, so I don’t think that is a reason to NOT hire him if he is still good at football.

Other industries? If the owner was worried about real backlash against his hiring, then I wouldn’t fault them for NOT hiring Kaepernick, but I would also commend them if they did hire him, since he is (in my view) simply exercising his right to protest peacefully.

I believe in Kaepernick’s right to express his beliefs in any way he sees fit, however this isn’t a First Amendment issue. You do have to accept whatever private consequences may ensue. The 49ers and the rest of the NFL are free to not hire him to play if they feel it will hurt their business. I predict he’ll play eventually, though. After all, they let Michael Vick back in.

I disagree with the article in entirety. His politics may be a convenient excuse for the lack of interest, but I’m quite certain 100% of the reason he remains unemployed is because he’s just not a very good QB.

Professional sports are as close to a pure meritocracy as exists today; if you can play, you’ll play, no matter how despicable you are off the field. See Michael Vick, Riley Cooper, Pacman Jones, Ray Lewis, Darryl Strawberry…

I guarantee you if Kaepernick, protests or no, played like Aaron Rodgers and won games, nobody would give a shit about the political stuff. Nobody is rushing to him with a dump truck full of cash for the same reason no one is rushing to sign RG3: they can’t play, it’s been proven several times over they can’t play, it’s not “the system,” it’s them, and soon they’ll be calling Tim Tebow to see if he can get them a tryout with the Mets (which still isn’t going so great, BTW).

Whether or not it’s in his contract that he stand for the NA (& I can’t imagine it is) players standing during the NA is something that’s done in the course of doing their jobs; it’s not some private off-hours activity. So he was doing his job in a way calculated to make a point, which is not necessarily wrong but makes it more of his employer’s business than would be the case if he was in a private activity.

I don’t agree with this. Fanatical fans, sure. But while fanatical fans tend to predominate when thinking of football watchers, there are also many casual fans, who are not nearly as devoted to the teams but who, by virtue of their sheer numbers, make up a portion of teams’ revenue bases.

This is true of the people who can clearly play at superstar level. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t marginal players who can be impacted by this type of thing.

What if its more because he’s a shitty quarterback that nobody wants to sign him?

Edit: Yeah what DCnDC said…

Consequences for Colin K not being very good anymore. If you can score the touchdowns, the NFL doesn’t care if you beat your wife, beat your kids, or both.

Agent: “He’s a double threat!”

Yeah, there are plenty of players who started to suck overnight and were dropped from NFL quickly. Kaepernick didn’t do himself many favors by becoming a lightning rod but I agree that if he produced on the field all would be forgiven. Bottom line, I don’t think his protests last year had anything to do with his contract situation.

Remember Tebow? He’s in the Mets farm system now.

After Michael Vick, you can’t tell me that football fans give a damn about what the players do off the field. If he could play like Terry Bradshaw in his prime, he could take a dump during the national anthem and nobody would care. But since this is a guy who is on the margins of having what it takes to play in the NFL, the team can afford to throw him under the bus in order to appear patriotically correct.

I hope someday to have enough time to care about what someone does during the national anthem. I’ve seen countless Facebook posts of maimed soldiers or flag-draped coffins with the meme “this is why you stand for the national anthem”. No, it isn’t. People died so you could have the freedom to follow your own conscience, not to behave as hyper-patriotic zealots demand.

I’m not a fan of forced display of patriotism. I don’t think what Kaepernick was doing was disrespectful. However, being consequenced is the current fad so it is what is.

Yep. His National Anthem thing is about the only thing I admire about the guy.

He certainly had a right to do it, and I’m glad he did.

And teams are perfectly free to pass him over if they don’t like it.

But, as others have said, I doubt it was the reason.

(I also doubt anyone cares that much, but as I often acknowledge, I live in a very liberal bubble.)

This makes sense, though it doesn’t change my overall position. It’d be the same (to me, anyway) as if a worker at an American factory in the 50s or 60s wore some hat or pin in solidarity with Civil Rights and anti-segregation protesters over his uniform – sure, he’s taking a risk, and he might get disciplined or fired… but IMO it’s morally wrong to discipline/fire someone for such an act since the larger issue is far more important than the smaller rules and practices.

Would you have done those protests in uniform while you were in the Navy?

It’s against the contract you sign to join the military, so (not speaking for iiandyiii, but I myself was in the Army), no. I don’t believe there was anything in Kaepernick’s contract about standing during the national anthem, however. And honestly, it’s a dick move on the military’s part to institute such a rule, but at least you know what you’re getting into ahead of time.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree then. I don’t think there were enough people that stopped watching football because of “Kneeling-gate” to affect the bottom line of the team and/or the NFL.

Along with others, I suspect he isn’t getting picked up by anybody because they think he is washed up and not worth what they would have to pay him.

That having been said, maybe it isn’t true, and he is still an outstanding player. But the team owners of the NFL are forgoing what could be millions in extra revenue not to sign him, because they find his kneeling during the anthem to be so offensive that they are willing to sacrifice revenue for principle. That sounds as admirable as risking millions in revenue by kneeling during the National Anthem.

So Kaepernick can take a knee during the anthem and deal with the consequences, and the owners can not sign him and take the consequences, or someone can sign him and the fans can boycott and everybody takes the consequences.

Maybe I would feel different if I gave a rat’s rump about Kaepernick’s notions about police shootings, or football in general, but I don’t.