David West sounds off on the NFL, Kaepernick and kneeling

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AP

David West sounds off on the NFL, Kaepernick and kneeling

As NFL owners and their besieged commissioner, Roger Goodell, blame kneeling players for diminished interest in the games, one prominent American athlete believes the league is hurt by its treatment of the man at the center of the uprising.

The failure to crack a door for Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick has some fans turning away from the NFL, according to Warriors big man David West.

“One part (of declining interest) that I think is being overlooked and is being dismissed is the impact of them not hiring or getting Colin Kaepernick in the league,” West said on this week’s Warriors Insider Podcast. “We know he should be on somebody’s roster.

“But what they’re discounting is that people aren’t watching the NFL because of the way they are treating Colin Kaepernick. That is a real thing. There are a lot of people who have stopped watching football, who are not going to games.”

As team after team turns to quarterback after quarterback with vastly inferior credentials, Kaepernick sits unemployed, ignored by NFL power brokers who imply their “fans” would revolt if he were signed to their team.

Some fans surely are jersey-burning angry over the wave of demonstrations started last season, when Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem as a way of protesting social inequality in America.

West is certain plenty of fans stand with the former 49ers quarterback. And there is anecdotal evidence to support West’s assertion, instances of fans turning to social media or attending games at various NFL venues carrying signs supportive of Kaepernick and others involved in the movement.

“That idea is not being talked about enough,” West said. “It’s the other way around. They’re saying people aren’t watching the NFL because guys are protesting.

“I’m not sure that the numbers, if we really, really look at who’s watching and who’s not going, I’m not sure that those numbers are the way that they are projecting them to be, in my opinion. I think there are a lot of people who aren’t watching because of the way Colin Kaepernick is being treated.”

In naming Kaepernick 'Citizen of the Year,' GQ recalibrates what we have taken for granted

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USATSI

In naming Kaepernick 'Citizen of the Year,' GQ recalibrates what we have taken for granted

Gentlemen’s Quarterly is not typically the defining mechanism of a man’s work. At least it shouldn’t be, not by my narrow concept of what is still a predominantly style-based magazine.

But when it named Colin Kaepernick its Citizen Of The Year, as told in the words of other admiring celebrity mavens, it recalibrated a lot of things we have taken for granted.

Like conscience. He had one. He exercised it at considerable personal cost and became a national touchstone on the real beginning of the new century. He put a cleaver to our national pretense of “one country” and made it plain that football isn’t meant to be the be-all and end-all of a football player’s life. A man must have a code, after all, and human decency for all under an umbrella of America-as-it-ought-to-be is his.

But his code was revealed in rejecting football (or actually, having it reject him), and while the national tide has swirled around him, he also helped reveal the slowly but discernibly rotting underpinnings of the National Football League which is responding to all this external struggle by eating itself. The NFL's power and resources are vast, so the cannibalism will take a decade and likely more, but it is happening right where everyone can see.

The owners are eating their hand-selected commissioner, who is using shape-shifting and often extra-legal standards to eat some of the game’s biggest names, who are eating each other with every helmet-to-helmet collision and disregard for their mutual power.

The next generation of sports fans is eating its remotes by finding other things to do in record numbers, the past and present generations of sports fans are using football as a meal for its own political positions, and the next generation of media executives are eating their own preconceptions about a football-based programming economy at a time when their own long-range projections are being undercut by technological advancements.

Plus, and let’s not forget this, the current president is wreaking his harpie’s revenge on the men and women who rejected him decades ago as a potential NFL owner because he was too malignant even for them.

Now what business should survive based on that? Well, there is that too-big-to-fail thing, but I wouldn't bank on that being true forever. Having ignored the slowly building health and safety considerations and the changing demographic tastes, it was shown all of it in its festering glory when Kaepernick decided one man’s voice wasn’t too small, and one man’s platform wasn’t too rickety.

And he wasn’t even going after football. He was going after social inequity and cruelties, the way a good citizen should.

So maybe GQ isn’t the Nobel Prize, or Time’s Person Of The Year. But credit to them for getting the sentiment right by seeing Kaepernick as a citizen in the most meaningful way a citizen can be viewed, and woe betide the National Football League for being collateral damage in a rapidly changing nation that is trying in its far too clumsy and often hateful way to relocate its essential reason for being.

Kaepernick named GQ Magazine's 'Citizen of the Year'

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AP

Kaepernick named GQ Magazine's 'Citizen of the Year'

NEW YORK — Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been named GQ's magazine's "Citizen of the Year" for his activism.

Kaepernick began kneeling instead of standing during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality. The demonstration sparked a wave of NFL protests by players during the anthem that repeatedly have been denounced by President Donald Trump. Kaepernick parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers in March and hasn't been signed by another team.

Kaepernick says on Twitter he's "honored" by the recognition.

The magazine 's story includes comments from several of Kaepernick's supporters and confidants. Rapper J. Cole says Kaepernick "sacrificed his dream" to stand for something. Ninety-year-old singer and activist Harry Belafonte says seeing people like Kaepernick taking action is "the greatest reward" he could ask for.

GQ added Kaepernick has 'been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality. But Colin Kaepernick's determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.'