By Damien Barling

It’s time.

Its been long enough.

Approaching a full year.

What is your issue with Colin Kaepernick? Some of you cant make up your mind.

“He’s a crappy quarterback.”
“No talent.”
“Bad mechanics. Bad attitude.”
“He’s not good enough.”

Ok. Cool. You’re wrong. But ok.

He’s better then every third string quarterback in the league and better then all but a small handful of backup quarterbacks. Yes, he’s also better then several starting quarterbacks.

But lets all be honest with each other. For some of you, thats not your issue.

New York Giants owner John Mara didn’t say he’s “heard from numerous concerned fans” about the team potentially signing Colin Kaepernick because he can’t throw down field. Whether these “numerous fans” equate to three or four or whether these “numerous fans” even exist is debatable in itself. I’m guessing Mara, the same guy who backed a kicker (A FREAKING KICKER!!!!!!!) with 21 domestic violence calls on his record, didn’t bring this to the media because he, or any Giants fan, is angered by Kaeps bad mechanics. Or, one of my favorites, “his inability to read defenses”.

(By the way, have you ever noticed everyone is a quarterback expert when it comes to Colin Kaepernick?)

No, Mara brought this to the forefront for a different reason.

There was a report, again, whether accurate or not, that a group of Ravens fans have become vocal against any potential signing of Colin Kaepernick. I question this because… Baltimore! Really? Baltimore????? Anyways, lets assume this report has some legitimacy. Are Ravens fans mad because Kaeps not good. Team Mallot forever? Nah. No matter how you feel, you and I both know, thats not it.

Lets stop here for a second. The Ravens. Really?

They backed Ray Rice after a video of him dragging his unconscious wife out of an elevator surfaced. They backed him until a video become public that eliminated any use of imagination about how the women became unconscious.

Terrell Suggs got a contract extension. He said he’s “a Raven for life”. His wife has filed 2 protective orders against him in the last 5 years and detailed a brutal pattern of abuse.

Ray Lewis. You gotta be freakin kidding me. I don’t know whether Ray Lewis killed anyone or not. The suit he was wearing that night disappeared. As did the murder weapon. He coped a plea by flipping on his boys. Won the Super Bowl the next year. Has had 2 broadcasting jobs since retirement. Up for the Hall of Fame next year.

I’m not the moral authority on athletes. Or on the Ravens. Or on anyone. We’ve all made mistakes. Some of us own them. Some of us don’t. All I ask for is consistency.

Which begs another question… What mistake did Colin Kaepernick make? Never arrested. No domestic abuse allegations. No drug use. So whats the issue? Why does Colin Kaepernick invoke such a passionate response from you, me, and fan bases across the NFL?

The mistake Kaep made was making people uncomfortable. He made some of you uncomfortable. He’s made old, white, billionaire owners uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with their own feelings. Uncomfortable with a young black man using his platform to draw attention to a growing problem in America. A growing problem that some of you will saw is a “black problem”.

Unfortunately, much like the most recent presidential election, much like the debate about police brutality, theres no dialogue. Theres just taking sides and arguing. You’re right so their wrong. It’s as simple as black and white.

Many people focused on Kaepernicks actions and missed his message. You’ve convinced yourself Kaep disrespected the flag, the troops, the military, your grandfather, and your ancestors. You failed to pay attention to why he did what he did. Why he took that knee. By ignoring his message you condoned what he was fighting against (yes, you did).

Oh, and by the way, you know who doesn’t think he disrespected the military? Or the troops? Or your grandfather and ancestors? The military. The troops. Your grandfather. Your ancestors. Its not a hard and fast rule but a lot of people belonging to those groups have recited the same line since this all started, “He exercised the right we fought for him to have.”

So, you can be mad. You can threaten not to listen. You can hatefully comment in the Facebook comments section. You can send emails to every email you can find on this webpage. None of that matters. Its time to be honest with yourself.

What’s your issue with Colin Kaepernick?

Owners are now sacrificing the integrity of their roster to keep Kaepernick off a team. You know, they know, I know – this isn’t about talent. This is about the hateful feelings many of you have because Colin Kaepernick stood up for something you can’t comprehend, therefore you don’t understand, therefore you don’t agree with. Worse yet, you don’t take the time to understand because, you simply don’t want to.

The President of the United States stood at a podium this weekend and supported police brutality. You can attempt to explain his words any way you want, but thats what he did. In the process, he encouraged the elimination of the presumption of innocence for every single person who comes in contact with law enforcement.

Basically, he supported everything Kaepernick is fighting against.

Black and white.

Right and wrong.

The president chose his side. Choose yours.

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