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Colour Commentary: The NFL is the one bringing politics into sports

by Nicholas Di Giovanni September 11, 2018
Colour Commentary: The NFL is the one bringing politics into sports

People forgetting the real problem after Colin Kaepernick Nike ad

Colin Kaepernick is making headlines again in the football world with his Nike “Just Do It” ad in which he says, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick and his San Francisco 49ers teammates famously created a movement in the National Football League (NFL) in 2016. Players started kneeling during the national anthem in protest against racism and police brutality in the United States.

The NFL put a rule in place for the 2018 season, to fine any player that knelt, but the player’s union quickly stopped it. Even after all this, Kaepernick lost his job in the NFL after the 2016 season, and hasn’t played since.

Back to the Nike ad: Kaepernick is facing backlash like he did with the anthem protest. #JustBurnIt and #BoycottNike were trending on Twitter with one protester burning five pairs of Nikes with the national anthem playing in the background. He said he’s boycotting the shoe company simply because “Kaepernick is the face of Nike now.”

United States President Donald Trump joined in on the action, tweeting: “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. […] As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”

There’s the problem—narrow-minded Americans think Kaepernick and the rest of the NFL are protesting the flag. No. They are angry about what the flag represents, and how black people are oppressed in “the land of the free.” Trump and co. make it seem like a military country, like you need to appreciate the flag otherwise you might lose your job, or lose business.

Senator Marco Rubio also said in July: “Most people wish there was a place we could go to get away from politics. And for most people it’s Sunday afternoons in the fall to be able to watch an NFL game.”

That’s another problem: the NFL and the American army are holding hands, and shoving patriotism down fans’ throats. Flags the size of football fields are brought out during anthems, and the NFL has a “Salute to Service” month in November dedicated to the military only. Isn’t that bringing politics into sports?

Yes, the NFL is a private corporation, but the minute the American flag comes out, and the anthem starts playing, they can kiss politics-free sports goodbye. If the NFL doesn’t want players like Kaepernick to make political statements, they should stop doing so themselves.

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