The Philadelphia Eagles have a bit of a history dealing with controversial players. First they signed Michael Vick to a contract after he was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring that included killing dogs that weren’t fit to fight.
They also offered wide receiver Riley Cooper a contract extension after his racist tirade at a concert, in which he called a security guard a nigger, was caught on tape.
But when it comes to free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against the deaths of unarmed African-American men, women and children at the hands of police, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie says that the QB’s got zero chance of playing for his team.
Here’s how Philly.com reported Lurie’s sentiments:
Last week, Lurie made plain his feelings for Kaepernick’s actions and words. So far, no owner has addressed Kaepernick more thoroughly. Lurie spoke for himself only, but he offered a glimpse at why other owners would hire Blaine Gabbert, Josh McCown or Mike Glennon instead of Kaepernick. “
Lurie just doesn’t like Kaepernick’s act.
Lurie frowns on anthem protests, but he can stomach them as long as they are part of a larger, pointed strategy to effect change. He isn’t a fan of alienating police and the military, or their supporters, but he’ll risk alienation as long as the offending protests have a specific point, and if the protester is willing to work to fix the problem.
It’s the anthem thing that Lurie can’t get past.
“I don’t think anybody who is protesting the national anthem … is very respectful,” Lurie said. “If that’s all their platform is, is to protest the national anthem, then what’s the proactive nature of it?”
“Anybody who wants to do proactive things, to try to reverse social injustice, I’m all in favor of. It has to be respectful,” Lurie said. “It certainly has to respect the military and the people that serve, the women and men that serve our country, emergency responders, whoever that is.”
“I applaud anybody that can find respectful ways of trying to use their platform in some way to discuss social injustice,” he said.
So let’s get this straight: Lurie actually believes that Kaepernick was protesting the national anthem. Lurie also didn’t listen to the countless speeches Kaepernick gave after games about why he was kneeling. Lurie honestly believes that Kaepernick’s action was not to try to use his platform to push for social change but, in fact, was only to piss off those who served this country.
This has always been what white America does to black protest: It claims that the protest is un-American. It did the same thing to Muhammad Ali during Vietnam. Ask Tommie Smith and John Carlos how badly they were treated after they returned home from the 1968 Olympics, where each of them raised a black-gloved fist while on the podium.
One of America’s deadliest tricks is to silence black protest by labeling it un-American. They’re doing it again with Kaepernick. Protest, by definition, should be disruptive. It doesn’t have to be violent or even vocal, but the purpose of protest is to move comforts around and encourage thought.
As it stands, the Philadelphia Eagles owner is fine with a dog killer on the team. He’s even fine with a mediocre, at best, wide receiver who openly called a black man a nigger, but protesting against the killings of unarmed black men, women and children … well, that is where he draws the line.
I’m ashamed at my brothers in the struggle who can’t get off the NFL dope this season and who come up with all kinds of asinine excuses as to why they will continue watching. Considering that this might be the most apathetic generation known to man, the NFL protest has been tailor-made for those who are too lazy to march. All you have to do is turn to a different station during the football season, and you can’t even do that.
Let’s be clear about this: Lurie didn’t say that he isn’t signing Kaepernick because he can’t play, a common myth I’ve heard floated as truth during this boycott season. He’s said that he’s not bringing on Kaepernick because of his protest.
One of the facts that NFL owners are using as a reason not to sign Kaepernick is that when he protested, rating numbers went down. Your viewership matters. If you’re a black man watching the NFL this season, then I’m calling you a sucker. If you were upset about the senseless killings of Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Ezell Ford, Michael Brown, John Crawford III, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd and countless others but are too lazy to turn off the TV when the NFL is on, then I’m calling you a sucker. Feel free to @ me if something I’ve said doesn’t sit well with you. I’m here all day and I have time.