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Open FieldNYC Protest: Standing Up for Colin Kaepernick

THU MAY. 25, 2017

NYC Protest: Standing Up for Colin Kaepernick

A rally was held outside NFL headquarters to support the out-of-work quarterback, who still evokes the strongest emotions among NFL fans

 

NEW YORK Outside NFL headquarters, an unusual scene unfolded at the corner of 51st Street and Park Ave. on Wednesday night. There was a protest on the sidewalk, but that wasnt the surprising part. Rather, it was the subject of the rally that might have been a first: a player being unsigned.

A crowd of some 50 people gathered around 5 p.m., careful to stand off private property and inside the barricades set up by the NYPD. About a dozen people spoke over the next hour, sharing personal messages and poetry in support of free agent Colin Kaepernick. Among the demonstrators: Etan Thomas, the former NBA center who spoke out against the Iraq War during his playing career; Emerald Snipes, the daughter of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died, in 2014, after being placed in a chokehold by police; and the protests organizer, Kevin Livingston, whose Queens-based non-profit, 100 Suits, received a surprise donation from Kaepernick last month. You may remember his social media post standing outside a Queens parole center with Kaepernick, who had dropped off two boxes of his own suits for Livingston to distribute to local men recently released from jail, so they could have job-interview attire.

 

He stood up for our community, says Livingston. He took these issues to a national platform. I feel that its only right that we stand up for him. We want to let the NFL know, we are not sitting silently, we are buying consumers and we want to make sure he gets a fair shot.

Six years ago, Kaepernick was a second-round selection of the 49ers. Three years ago, he led them to the Super Bowl. Nine months ago, everything changed when he stepped outside the bubble of sports and became a lightning rod for taking a knee during the national anthemhis way of protesting the continued oppression of minorities in the United States.

Photo: Jenny Vrentas/The MMQB (protest) :: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/Getty Images (Kaepernick)

On the same day his supporters gathered in New York (and held demonstrations in other cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee), Kaepernick was in Seattle visiting the Seahawks, who are exploring options for a back-up quarterback behind Russell Wilson. This was the first team visit Kaepernick has taken this offseason, and the first interest any club has formally shown since he and the 49ers parted ways in March.

The chances of him landing with a team have seemed less and less as the weeks have gone by and as quarterback depth charts have been filled out via free agency and the draft. There are on-field and off-field factors to consider in the ongoing debate about Kaepernicks unemployment, but one thing is for certain: he evokes the greatest emotions of any current issue in or around the NFL. That says quite a lot considering other front-and-center topics for Americas most popular sports league are domestic violence, head injuries and the arctic chill from all of New England being directed toward 345 Park Ave. But its an undeniable truth. Starting in 2016, as our country has become more divided along political lines, Kaepernick became a flashpoint. His critics didnt want to hear his concerns about social justice; they only rebuked him for being unpatriotic.

 

Mara said signing Kaepernick wasnt discussed by his club this offseason, although the Giants never were a likely landing spot for him; they already have a franchise quarterback and were looking to find Eli Mannings eventual successor in the draft. But the letters Mara received offer a league-wide glimpse into some of the unusual circumstances surrounding Kaepernicks job search.

Blackballed is a strong term, because it suggests a concerted effort among NFL teams to ban a player from the league. But consider the situation another way: A coach who might want to sign Kaepernick would probably have to go to great lengths to convince the owner that Kaepernick is worth the public pressure and wont hurt the bottom line . . . except his play last season probably wasnt strong enough to inspire many coaches to make that argument.

 

The dialogue around Kaepernick at the league meetings in Chicago earlier this week was far different from that on the sidewalk in front of the NFL headquarters a day later. One owner, when asked if his team considered signing Kaepernick this offseason, took a breath in and a big lean back, as if to say, Dont want to touch that. The most common response to that question: Owners said they were happy with the quarterbacks they have. Heres Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill: No, because we have our starter in place and our backup in place, Carson [Palmer] and Drew Stanton. So, those guys have been in place. And Jets owner Woody Johnson: Im not going to go into internal deliberations, but we picked Josh McCown. We thought he was the best fit for us, so thats the decision we made.

The NYC protest in support of Kaepernick was called a Show of Solidarity. It was humble in size, and no one from the NFL office appeared to stop or even pass by. But individual voices from the crowd were strong, and it was hard to miss the two trucks parked across the street with large LED screens displaying highlights of Kaepernick and photographs of him kneeling for the anthem, with the message, We Support Kaepernick. Theres enough public pressure against Kaepernick, many of the protestors said, so this was their way of pushing back. They called him a hero and a trailblazer, and they thanked him for waking up their communities and their country.

 

Look at where we are at as a nation, says Luis Mercado, a 29-year-old from New Jersey who went to the demonstration with a group from the Know Your Rights Camp, a free campaign funded by Kaepernick to educate kids on reaching goals and interacting with law enforcement. Its a trying time when people feel they are not being heard and some rights are being taken away. Its important now, more than ever, to speak up for what we believe in.

Kaepernick, Mercado added, has become the scapegoat of a bigger issue.

The demonstrators vowed to continue protesting outside NFL headquarters until Kaepernick is signed, and to boycott watching NFL games if he is not. If the Seahawks dont take him, theres no telling where hell end up or if hell even be in the league this season. But the emotions stirred nine months ago still abide.

http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2017/05/25/nfl-colin-kaepernick-new-york-city-support-rally-nfl-headquarters

 

 

Mara quote in here that I thought was interesting

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See this whole thing was a great move by Kapers agent, get him invovled in political bullshit so when the day came that the NFL realized he was nothing more than a C grade Vick and he's benched/released and looking for work, they can blame it on other things then his shitty play.

 

Genius.

 

 

 

 

That they are looking for Eli's replacement in the draft?

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See this whole thing was a great move by Kapers agent, get him invovled in political bullshit so when the day came that the NFL realized he was nothing more than a C grade Vick and he's benched/released and looking for work, they can blame it on other things then his shitty play.

 

Genius.

 

 

 

 

That they are looking for Eli's replacement in the draft?

No this

 

All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue, says Giants co-owner John Mara, who for 24 years has worked for the team his family founded. If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasnt one or two letters. It was a lot. Its an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue Ive run into.

And I agree it's dumb and not the reason he's not getting work. Other factors are at play here like, money, chance to compete and being on a good team.

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If you could just fix his head, way better than Smith.

 

well, Smith is the kind of guy who justifiably gets beat the fuck up by his teammates.

 

​Kaepernick is just standing up for what he feels is right.

 

Who would you rather have on your team? Me, I'd rather have the guy with strong opinions that I don't necessarily agree with than the guy who's just a shithead without a meaningful thought in his brain.

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well, Smith is the kind of guy who justifiably gets beat the fuck up by his teammates.

 

​Kaepernick is just standing up for what he feels is right.

 

Who would you rather have on your team? Me, I'd rather have the guy with strong opinions that I don't necessarily agree with than the guy who's just a shithead without a meaningful thought in his brain.

 

To me, I really don't care if someone does what he did, but he's fucked for himself up by doing it though. American Football is full of folks that are so into that, he'll be criticized no matter what team he goes to. I wonder why he waited so long to do it rather than from his first days as a QB.

 

Plus, I would never believe the Giants would bring him in being Old-School the way they are, nope!

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Pretty funny that four years ago some on these boards were heralding Kaepernick and Harbaugh as the gold standard by which the Giants should start planning for their future.

 

They certainly have been giving it a shot the last few years. :cool:

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Pretty funny that four years ago some on these boards were heralding Kaepernick and Harbaugh as the gold standard by which the Giants should start planning for their future.

Well Sephiroth, not everyone has our football acumen.

 

I always thought Kaepernick was kinda shit for a starter.

 

Anybody following the Brandon Jacobs v. Harbaugh hate? BJ may have a point - there were a couple years that team was insanely stacked everywhere but QB.

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Too many fucking eagle fans on the board this year

 

This is nothing... I really get on a roll once the season starts.

 

 

Just pointing out the hypocrisy.

 

"Yeah... we'll sign a piece of shit who beforehand we knew treated his wife like a hostage, but God forbid we sign someone who took a knee during The National Anthem in a peaceful protest that hurt no one."

 

 

:TU:

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This is nothing... I really get on a roll once the season starts.

 

 

Just pointing out the hypocrisy.

 

"Yeah... we'll sign a piece of shit who beforehand we knew treated his wife like a hostage, but God forbid we sign someone who took a knee during The National Anthem in a peaceful protest that hurt no one."

 

 

:TU:

You definitely have a point. If he weren't so terrible, he'd have been signed before St. Patricks day. A clubhouse cancer, he actually bought himself some cred by doing what he did.

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Well Sephiroth, not everyone has our football acumen.

 

I always thought Kaepernick was kinda shit for a starter.

 

Anybody following the Brandon Jacobs v. Harbaugh hate? BJ may have a point - there were a couple years that team was insanely stacked everywhere but QB.

People want to act like Harbaugh's final year wasn't good that was Singletary's roster he won with too, they just hit on Kaepernick who had this one career year in 2012 and remember that team played us in the NFC Championship with Alex Smith. I didn't see the upside with Kaep and thought teams would figure him out which they did and Harbaugh failed to replace aging players

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