On the Unemployment of NFL Quarterback Collin Kaepernick, on Kaepernick’s Protest (and His Right to Do So), and on the First Amendment
By Ken K. Gourdin
Doug Robinson of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News commented on the reluctance of National Football League teams to employ former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick following Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem at games last season as as a protest against alleged police brutality and unjustified deaths of minorities at the hands of police. Robinson’s column is here (last accessed June 7, 2017):
While I am not naive enough to believe that police brutality never occurs, and although those who do so have every right to protest so-called “questionable” deaths at the hands of police and so-called cases of “police brutality”, those who so protest may wish to increase their chances of the public taking them seriously by picking their battles a little better. For instance, Utahns Against Police Brutality called the death of Jose Angel Garcia Jauregui a case of “police brutality” even though police killed Jauregui only after he had shot and killed one officer and shot and wounded another.
I suspect that, similarly, Kaepernick fails adequately to consider the underlying circumstances of many of the cases of so-called “police brutality” he is protesting. And yes, Kaepernick has every right to protest, as long as he’s willing to live with the consequences. No one owes him a job, and the refusal of any NFL team to employ him (even if they simply disagree with his views and/or with his propensity to protest) does not violate the First Amendment because the NFL is not the government.
Reportedly, by virtue of the fact that he has been seen wearing a t-shirt featuring the likeness of (thankfully-deceased!) Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Kaepernick believes Castro somehow is worthy of emulation, and/or that he is a champion of human rights. In contrast to Kaepernick’s judgment, thankfully, history’s judgment of Castro will be much harsher (and more accurate) than Kaepernick’s judgment of him. I suppose, contrary to Kaepernick’s stance as revealed in his purported protest, that mistreatment and murder of minorities actually is acceptable, depending on who’s engaging in the mistreatment and committing the murder.