Eric Reid (35) and Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline during the anthem, as free agent Nate Boyer stands, prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 1, 2016 in San Diego (Photo by Michael Zagaris / San Francisco 49ers / Getty Images).
Hoover High School

Column: It is time to sign Colin Kaepernick

The blacker the player, the sweeter the juice. As Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned, we all seem to lose.

The National Football League (NFL) is one of the most popular, if not most popular sport league in the world. It is also the most scrutinized league in the world. Led by arguably the most-hated sport commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell has been criticized for his involvement in the many scandals with the NFL, and the many African-Americans in the league openly disliking Goodell.

This past August, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem at a preseason game. Kaepernick was blasted by many respected sport journalists around the country, but refused to back down.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” was Kaepernick’s explanation when asked why he kneeled.

Kaepernick continued to kneel throughout the season, and excelled as he was promoted to the starting job later on in the year. As Kaepernick became a free agent, it seemed a no brainer to many that he is a backup in this league.

Guess not.

With the NFL season around the corner, Kaepernick remains team-less. Mediocre players like Jay Cutler are being signed to $10 million deals, while Kaepernick is left to rot for speaking up for what he believes in. The NFL is corrupt and there is no way around it.

Outspoken NBA owner Mark Cuban told ESPN that “Kaepernick would have a job if he played for the NBA.” The NBA not only embraces players to speak up, but encourages it.

Think the Eric Garner story, who died July 17, 2014, after a police officer placed him in a chokehold. NBA stars like Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett came out to games wearing “I can’t breathe” shirts, in support of the innocence of Garner. None of those players faced criticism and NBA commissioner Adam Silver supported them publicly.

On the other hand, Goodell and NFL owners are completely overlooking Kaepernick. He deserves an NFL contract and everybody around the league knows it. But owners are more worried about losing respect from peers then signing Kaepernick.

It is completely disgusting and blasphemous. The talent is there, but the 32-white NFL owners do not seem to care. Many NFL players have come out in support of Kaepernick, but yet again no teams have signed him. The Baltimore Ravens voiced their intrigue with signing Kaepernick, but their owner came out and declined those comments.

Sports offers a unique platform for athletes to speak up for what is right. From African-American Olympic runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists during the 1968 games to world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali refusing to enter the draft for the Vietnam War.

We have embraced these peaceful movements for equal rights. What makes Kaepernick’s any different?

It is enough. It is time for change. Sign Kaepernick.