I wonder what Charles Goodell would think of the NFL’s de facto Colin Kaepernick ban.
If you don’t recognize the name, he was named a U.S. Senator from New York in 1968 by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to replace Bobby Kennedy after Kennedy was assassinated.
A Republican, Goodell alienated President Richard Nixon and conservative voters by coming out against the Vietnam War. He came in third in the 1970 election, as a conservative was elected in a three-way race. He also happens to be the father of current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“That was a valuable lesson to me – taking that position he did would be the end of his political career,’’ Goodell told the New York Times in 2010. “He was hoping people would see it was the right thing to do, but against the president’s weight, the weight of the Republican party, it would be difficult, but he did it.’’
Would Roger Goodell have done the same thing his father did?
What we do know is that Roger Goodell is carrying the water for the owners in their ongoing refusal to sign Kaepernick.
Last week while onstage with NFL Network’s Andrea Kramer during the Rams’ “All-Access” event, Goodell insisted Kaepernick is not being ostracized for kneeling or sitting during the nation anthem last year.
Goodell said NFL teams sign players that will make their team better.
“I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that team, they’re going to do it,’’ Goodell said.
He said the NFL is a “meritocracy’’ and that you “earn your opportunities and get to keep your opportunities on the way you perform.’’
Giants’ co-owner John Mara was more honest than Goodell on the issue.
He recently told The MMQB that he’s never gotten such emotional letters from fans who said they were never coming to another Giants’ game if they signed Kaepernick.
It was quickly pointed out that the Giants gave wife abuser Josh Brown a new contract last year with full knowledge that Brown was an abuser.
The NFL looked the other way on Brown but is banning Kaepernick for expressing his constitutional right to dissent.
It’s often overlooked that many fans support him. His San Francisco jersey was the 17th best seller in May even though he no longer plays for them. The NFL can act with impunity because it is a monopoly that needed an antitrust exemption from Congress (the price was a franchise for New Orleans) to make the AFL-NFL merger legal.
Meanwhile, it’s causing quite a media debate. Dave Zirin of The Nation, who said he’s talked to Kaepernick, wrote that Kaepernick is the victim of a “disinformation campaign’’ by his critics in the media. And he said the NFL is sending a message to what can happen to players who protest. He said they will be “Kaepernicked.’’
The real message is that you have to be a star to do what Kaepernick did. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers no doubt could have done it without consequence.
One of Kaepernick’s biggest critics is Andy Benoit of The MMQB, whose arguments are rather thin.
He said Kaepernick can’t play in the pocket and that there are 15 better backups in the league. Are Geno Smith and Ryan Mallett and Brock Osweiler/Cody Kessler really any better?
And even if those 15 are better, that leaves 17 other backup jobs. Benoit never mentions that. Should one of those teams sign him?
He also concedes that Tim Tebow “was a markedly worse quarterback.’’
Yet he was signed by four teams. But then Tebow was wildly popular with the fans.
Kaepernick won’t be in camp when they open next month. His only chance will come if a team decides to sign him after suffering a quarterback injury.
Kaepernick has said he won’t continue his protest if he’s signed, but he is still standing up for his beliefs.
After a Minnesota police officer was acquitted after killing Philando Castile, Kaepernick tweeted, “A system that perpetually condones the killing of people, without consequence, doesn’t need to be revised. It needs to be dismantled.’’
He then had two badges – runaway slave patrol and police officer – in between the words “You can’t ignore your history. Always remember who they are.’’
That started another Twitter storm of protest that he was demeaning the police.
He also tweeted, “My heart aches for Philando’s family.’’
He’s also making $1 million in charitable contributions, the latest a $25,000 grant to an urban farming and food education non- profit in Minneapolis called Appetite for Change.
Kaepernick is not only talking the talk, he’s walking the walk.
Meanwhile, the NFL will continue to profit from selling his uniforms, but won’t let him wear one in an actual NFL game.
It’s one of the benefits of being a monopoly.