Despite the NFL’s videotaped acknowledgment that they were wrong to try and stop Colin Kaepernick’s protesting of police brutality, its recent message rings hollow, according to one analyst. SI‘s Tucker Franklin wrote on Saturday that despite Roger Goodell’s taped apology, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback is still blackballed and still without a job.
Franklin pointed out it’s been three years and nine months since Kaepernick first opted to kneel during the national anthem, while the league long pretended that his protest was aimed at the flag of the United States. Kaepernick made it clear that his stance was aimed at police brutality directed against black people in the country. He once released a statement that said he loved America and because of that, he wanted the country to be better.
The NFL ignored that message and allowed others to pretend Kaepernick’s protest was about something else. Franklin added that the new message from Goodell “rings hollow” after years of stifling protests. The analyst added the apology video made no mention of the league’s efforts to stifle those protests, even if it alluded to them.
The league even passed a rule that would allow teams to punish players who followed Kaepernick’s lead. After the public backlash to the rule, the league never enforced it, but Franklin doesn’t think that makes it any better.
The analyst also pointed out it was never about the flag, and the league’s stand against what Kaepernick did is why the country is still having this conversation. When Drew Brees came out and tried to claim the quarterback’s kneeling during the anthem was about disrespecting the flag, he was met with anger by current and former players. Some of those players are still his teammates.
The Saints signal-caller eventually apologized. After Donald Trump said Brees should never have apologized, the veteran quarterback admitted Kaepernick’s protests weren’t about the flag.
Earlier this week, former running back Arian Foster — who took part in anthem protests in 2016 — appeared on the Pardon My Take podcast and expressed his annoyance at the NFL’s video. In his appearance, Foster said the league has long been reactionary instead of proactive. Franklin echoed those comments, saying Goodell’s release came after several other organizations and players released their own statements. The analyst believes the league once again only said something because they had to. That’s underlined by the fact that the statement was released only after several players worked with a now-fired league employee to create a video asking the NFL to address the Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests.