As a new NFL season approaches, an old controversy is being given new life as quarterback Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a team.
And with two teams having passed on Kaepernick in recent days, a collection of civil rights groups, including The People’s Consortium and Justice League NYC, are planning a rally on Aug. 23, 2017, outside of NFL headquarters in New York City in support of the quarterback.
Famed director Spike Lee lent his support to the rally in a pair of tweets sent out on Tuesday morning. Lee later tweeted he wouldn’t be able to make the rally but added, “I will be there in spirit and solidarity.”
Kaepernick caused a stir last season when he knelt during the national anthem before several games to protest racial inequality. When asked about his small, silent protest, Kaepernick referred to the many victims of police brutality who have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement, including Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland.
While a handful of players around the league joined in similar protests, the ire has been squarely aimed at Kaepernick.
For his part, Kaepernick seems to be handling everything in stride, and has spent his time helping out charities like Meals on Wheels and 100 Suits for 100 Men.
A similar, smaller rally in support of Kaepernick was held earlier this spring outside the NFL HQ.
Kaepernick’s name has come up in recent weeks as injuries have already begun piling up for a few NFL teams, even as training camps have barely started. He was mentioned specifically in connection with two teams, the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.
Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a severe non-contact knee injury during drills. The injury forced the Dolphins to explore other quarterback options as Tannehill and the team weighed whether he’d need season-ending surgery and Kaepernick’s name reportedly came up.
Ultimately, though, the Dolphins decided to sign embodiment of human apathy Jay Cutler, who retired last season after a largely mediocre career. Reports indicated that Cutler, who was signed to a one-year, $10 million deal, was picked over Kaepernick because Cutler and Dolphins head coach Adam Gase had worked together in Chicago.
As for the Ravens, the team also considered signing Kaepernick after their quarterback, the elite thrower Joe Flacco, was sidelined with an injury but, instead, opted for relative unknown David Olson.
Which is all well and good except the team, particularly owner Steve Bisciotti, participated in a lot of public hand-wringing over the potential of signing Kaepernick, including asking fans to “pray for us.”
All that hand-wringing just led to extra grief for the Ravens, who are now looking all the worse as people rally around Kaepernick.