There are two columns in this morning’s Washington Post that deserve comment. The first one is by Sally Jenkins and it is inspired by an investigative report into the actions of the US Olympic Committee regarding the physical abuse of women gymnasts by Dr. Larry Nasser and the mental abuse of those young women by trainers and senior officers of the USOC. Based on the investigative report – – 233 pages long no less – – there was everything from foot-dragging to active coverup actions by multiple folks as these abuses were ongoing. Dr. Nasser is a monstrous child molester who will spend most if not all of the rest of his life in prison. However, he is not the only one who needs to answer for actions taken and actions not taken over the last couple of decades.
Here is a link to Sally Jenkins’ column. Even though you will have feelings of revulsion when you finish reading it, I suggest it is worth that discomfort.
The second column is by Kevin Blackistone and it deals with the QB situation here in Washington where the Skins have brought in two retreads to play QB in the aftermath of two QBs ending their seasons with broken legs. There has been plenty of talk in these parts about the possibility that the Skins would bring in Colin Kaepernick to be the interim QB in lieu of folks like Mark Sanchez and/or Josh Johnson. One caller to a local sports radio program went so far as to suggest that hiring Kaepernick for the job would be a way for the team to get out from under all the bad publicity that it got when it signed Reuben Foster off the waiver wire. Blackistone argues that Kaepernick “simply can’t” play for the Skins.
Here is a link to Kevin Blackistone’s column. I doubt that it will change anyone’s mind on the entirety of the “Kaepernick-protest issue”, but it does make a strong case as to why the Skins will not hire him and why it is in his better interest not to be hired by that franchise.
I am about to step over the line here into a bit of mind reading. That demands the following disclaimer:
- I have no psychic capability whatsoever.
- I cannot read minds.
- What follows is a logical – to me – conclusion drawn from external events and not an actual transcript of the thoughts of other people.
With that disclaimer front and center – and fresh in everyone’s mind – let me say:
- I don’t think Colin Kaepernick would take a “franchise-QB style contract” with the Skins even if one were offered to him.
For the last several football seasons, Colin Kaepernick has been the central figure in a protest that started out in opposition to police violence against black men in the US. When Kaepernick first took a knee during the National Anthem, I said that I completely supported the goals of his protest but that I wished he had chosen a different forum to make that protest. My objection then was not based on any sort of uber-patriotism; my objection was simply that many folks would focus on the “anthem-part” of the protest and not the “police violence” part. Unfortunately, I was more right than wrong with that sentiment.
Notwithstanding my reservation about the form of his protest, I supported his goals then and I continue to support his goals as I am writing these words. At the same time, over the past couple of years while Colin Kaepernick has been unemployed, it seems to me that he himself has morphed from an athlete using his recognizability to highlight a societal problem to a social justice warrior who used to be an NFL QB. Ignoring entirely any actions or inactions by NFL teams or the NFL as an entity over the past two years, I have the sense that Colin Kaepernick now exists in a space where his primary objective is to improve the social condition of the country.
It seems to me that for the last year or so, Colin Kaepernick has done a lot more to establish a brand for himself as an opponent of oppression rather than to shore up his brand as an NFL QB. That is certainly his right and his privilege; I have no qualms with that at all. And because I believe that his current focus is to enhance his brand as an opponent of oppression, I do not believe that he could possibly put his name on a contract alongside the signatory for the Washington Redskins. An opponent of oppression cannot maintain credibility if that same opponent of oppression is a “Redskin”; an opponent of oppression will see his/her brand destroyed by the hypocrisy of such a situation.
When the Skins signed Josh Johnson to be their 4th QB of the season, people asked Head Coach Jay Gruden if the team had contacted Kaepernick. Gruden sidestepped the question saying that there were discussions about that, but that they decided to go with Johnson because he had been with Jay Gruden in Tampa about a decade ago and was familiar with the terminology of the offense. Jay Gruden actually said that with a straight face.
If indeed anyone initiated such an internal “discussion” of such a personnel move, here is my stylized version of how it went down:
- Coach Gruden: We’re desperate here; we’re still in the mix for the playoffs. Should we put in a call to Kaepernick to find out if he is in football shape and bring him in for a workout? He’s a better QB than anything else out there…
- Team President Bruce Allen: Are you [bleeping] kidding? I have military flyovers scheduled at the start of every home game for the rest of the year. That is an important part of the team’s community identity. Can’t do that…
- Owner Danny Boy Snyder: Not here … not now … not ever.
- Coach Gruden: I’ll put in a call to Josh Johnson right now…
Kevin Blackistone is absolutely right; Kaepernick should not be the QB for the Skins. Moreover, those folks who are following his lead as an opponent of oppression should urge him never to have any sort of contractual ties to that franchise for the sake of his social causes. I think everyone is safe here. The Skins do not want Kaepernick and Kaepernick – and his supporters – want nothing to do with the Skins. It is amazing how one can find common ground when you go and look for it.
Finally, here is a comment by Brad Rock of the Deseret News regarding another NFL QB:
“A 69-year-old Dutchman is suing to get his age legally changed, saying he has the body of a 45-year-old and identifies as such.
“He believes the switch would improve both dating and job prospects.
“Elsewhere, Tom Brady is planning to declare himself eligible for the 2019 NFL draft.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………