Within 48 hours, Kaepernick helped raise over $1 million dollars to help provide direct aid to people of Somalia who are suffering from a historic drought that has destroyed crops and livestock. According to the United Nations, Somalia is on the edge of a catastrophic famine that will impact six million people — more than half the country’s population.
“It was done out of love,” continued Kaepernick. “We wanted to bring structure to this so now we’re going to use the name ‘Love Army for Somalia.’ So use the #LoveArmyForSomalia and this is amazing.”
It truly is amazing, and deserves special pause to sink in.
While tiny countries like Malaysia are sending military troops with food and aid to Somalia, the United States has not, despite a near $600 billion military budget. Instead, U.S. media attention and Somalia support are being largely driven by an NFL football player.
This is what NFL love looks like.
And if you listen to Kaepernick’s voice in the video, it is what love sounds like, too. “This is a victory for the people of Somalia,” says Kaepernick. “This is a victory for the people.”
Whatever the exact opposite of “the people” are, the NFL leadership is that.
It is still unclear if any of the NFL billionaire owners have or will be moved enough to contribute to the #LoveArmyForSomalia, but their overall feelings on Kaepernick are much clearer as his free agency has gained little NFL interest thus far.
“[NFL teams] genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did,” one AFC General manager admitted to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. “They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment.”
Of course, the GM is referring to Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem during games this past season to protest against police brutality and black oppression.
The GM estimated that this genuine hate accounted for 60% of GM’s and another 20% were scared to sign Kaepernick due to a potential fan backlash. That backlash even included fears of repercussions of a negative Donald Trump tweet. The GM estimated only 20% of teams were staying away for primarily football reasons. “He can still play at a high level”, admitted the GM.
Another GM called Kap “an embarrassment to football.”
Hate from NFL execs has been consistent. When Freeman interviewed seven NFL executives before the start of the 2016 season, one called Kaepernick “a traitor” and another said “he has no respect for this country,” while adding “f–k that guy”.
One executive said he hadn’t seen so much collective front office dislike since Rae Carruth — who is still in prison for plotting to murder his pregnant girlfriend.
If that isn’t shocking enough, another GM stated without qualifier: “I have never seen a guy so hated.”
Freeman and many noted at the time: “This is a league that has signed domestic abusers, accused murderers, players who killed another person while driving drunk. But Kaepernick is the most hated person he’s ever seen?”
Yes. This is what NFL hate looks like.
In the NFL, the only crime worse than murdering black lives is standing up for them.
America may have changed from Obama to Trump, but NFL owners have always been a collection of Donald Trumps.
Same egos. Same lack of accountability. Same vengeance.
In Freeman’s preseason interviews, NFL execs estimated at the time that 90% to 95% of NFL front offices felt the same way, and all seven predicted Kaepernick would never play in the NFL again.
So far, NFL front offices are making good on their spite.
Should Kaepernick remain unsigned too much longer, journalists may be soon forced to change our language from words like “hated,” to terms like “blackballed” and “NFL collusion.”
“The silence is deafening,” writes Freeman. “If a Super Bowl quarterback can walk and chew bubble gum simultaneously, he gets opportunities.”
Forget Kaepernick’s Super Bowl and overall playoff excellence, sometimes just walking and chewing will suffice. Just ask Bucs backup Mike Glennon was recently signed by the Bears for $15 million per year.
Perhaps the only positive aspect to come out of Freeman’s interviews is that we no longer have to go through tedious statistical exercises of proving that Kaepernick is the latest black quarterback being discriminated against — NFL executives are literally telling us.
In an Instagram post, film director Spike Lee summed up a popular feeling on social media: “What crime has Colin committed? Look at The QB’s of All 32 Teams. This Is Some Straight Up Shenanigans, Subterfuge, Skullduggery and BS.”
Spike’s prose deserves pause: Shenanigans. Subterfuge. Skullduggery.
Spike, it gets even worse.
How about Sacrificial black Lamb?
One GM told Freeman he believes some teams “want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”
The GM was supported in interviews with agents and players at the NFL draft combine. Freeman writes: “The agents added that the combine interviews included more political questions than any of them could ever remember. And all the questions, the agents said, focused on Kaepernick’s protest last year or the possibility of future protests by other players.” One agent stated: “Teams are trying to gauge if they would have a potential Kaepernick situation.”
In the Edge of Sports podcast, Dave Zirin called this “political litmus test” and “Shoulder-Pad McCarthyism.”
GM’s aren’t only punishing Kaepernick, they’re punishing all African-American players — 70% of the league.
This is what hating black lives looks like.
Should Kaepernick get blackballed, every black player will take notice. Hopefully all players.
When you only care about whether an athlete can run and jump, but police his free expression as a full human being, then you don’t care about him. The NFL never has.
What these NFL executives can’t or won’t understand is that the very dynamic that has led Kaepernick to seek attention for those brutalized or killed by police, is the same one that compelled him to use his platform to enlist in the #LoveArmyForSomalia — a movement was started by French social media star Jerome Jarre, and quickly joined by actor Ben Stiller.
Again, this is what love looks like.
If there were ever a time for billionaire owners to join forces with Kaepernick, it is right now. Kap’s first video message on Somalia still resonates: “There’s an impending famine because of drought, politics, inaction in NGOs and lack of media attention.”
“We can’t let this happen…
We can help create the change.
We can help be the change.
Let’s make this happen.
Let’s help save these lives.
We can do this.”
Kaepernick’s Love vs. NFL Hate has been the equation the whole time.
Which side are you on?