A day prior to not-a-distraction-at-all-during-his-playing-career Hall Of Famer Ray Lewis suggesting that jobless QB/activist Colin Kaepernick oughta, y’know, keep a lower profile, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (above, middle) took to the pages of The Hollywood Reporter with an op/ed that considered Kaepernick’s right to work, if not his right to speak.
As I look around the NFL at backup quarterbacks, it seems that his talent is superior to a lot of people who are on teams already. And nothing in his words or actions is groundbreaking, nothing that activist athletes haven’t said before. Yet the backlash against him seems more intense than with other outspoken athletes, like Serena Williams and LeBron James.
Americans have a favorite quote to demonstrate their dedication to free speech: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” For this to be more than lip service, NFL superstars must defend athletes like Colin through boycotts or other means of persuasion. Some players already have joined him, including Eric Reid, Kenny Britt, Robert Quinn, Brandon Marshall, Antoine Betha and Eli Harold. But they add up to less than two dozen out of about 1,700 players. Where is the support from the other players, especially the white players who make up most of the top ten highest-paid players in the league?