Boycott over patriotism; larger NFL issues ignored

TW: sexual assault and domestic violence

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has disrupted the NFL in more ways than one. He sat and later kneeled during the national anthem, which caused both cohe­sion and uproar within the NFL.

Fellow players have since stood with Kaeper­nick, whether sitting, kneeling, raising fists or linking arms. But the league hasn’t been support­ive and many sponsors have ended relationships with players since the political statement.

Despite many players acting alongside Kaeper­nick, many fans have voiced their disgust with the quarterback’s actions. This sentiment is shared by many, so many that both CBS and NBC saw their lowest ratings during football games in seven years. If Kaepernick won’t stand for the national anthem, then apparently fans won’t watch games.

Actor James Woods, known for his fervent con­servatism, is participating in this boycott. When speaking with TMZ Sports he said, “I hope they [Kaepernick and co.] respect my constitutional right never to watch the NFL again. I will never watch the NFL again. Ever.”

The Miami police union shares a similar, though slightly less strong, sentiment with Woods. After four Dolphins players kneeled before a game, the union announced a boycott against the NFL. Jeffery Bell, the International Union of Police As­sociations president, argued that players “give up that right of freedom of speech temporarily.”

There’s no surprise Kaepernick’s actions spurred backlash, but a boycott? Fans are boycot­ting the NFL because a person of color used his platform as a famous athlete to talk about a prob­lem permeating his community.

Fans won’t boycott the NFL, however, when a player brutally assaults his wife. Or when a play­er sexually assaults two women. Or even when a player kills another human being. No, only when a player peacefully protests systematic racism.

That makes complete sense.

In 2014 former running back Ray Rice assault­ed his then-fiancée. The NFL suspended him two games before a tape was released showing the assault. Only after the video made headlines did teams stop showing interest in Rice.

Steelers’ current quarterback Ben Roethlis­berger has been publicly accused of sexual assault twice. After the first case, the NFL did nothing. Following the second incident, the league sus­pended Roethlisberger for six games. He main­tained his Nike endorsement and signed a re­cord-breaking $87.4 million contract with the Steelers in 2015. That year Forbes ranked Roethlis­berger the 11th-highest-paid athlete in the world.

Apparently violating and brutalizing women isn’t enough to anger fans into boycotting the NFL. This is one of the many reasons rape contin­ues to happen. The league isn’t held accountable for its negligence, which further condones such horrible mistreatment of women by its players.

Fans are calling Kaepernick unpatriotic, but he’s just exercising his right to free speech, some­thing the American system claims to protect. In boycotting the NFL, fans are implying Kaepernick and his fellow protesters do not deserve that right.

This unacceptable reaction by fans and the NFL encourages the silencing of survivors as well as people of color. These communities need a voice, especially within the sports world and even more so in the face of a male-dominated entity like the NFL. There are many reasons to boycott the NFL but Kaepernick’s political statement is not one of them. The league has systematic issues that encourage the maltreatment of women and people of color. It is problematic that fans support the game despite these unacceptable situations.

It is further concerning that the NFL does al­most nothing. The lack of action combined with fan’s unacceptable ignorance will surely continue to damage these glaring societal problems.


  1. “This unacceptable reaction by fans”

    Why is it unacceptable? Kaepernick and company are exercising their constitutional rights to protest. Fans are exercising their constitutional rights to boycott.


  2. This article clearly states the problem when insulting people boycotting the NFL. It speaks of these people boycotting because “1 man of color protested”. No, we’re protesting because many men of all colors have decided in this time of racial tensions and anti-America ideology to insult the sacrifice of thousands who gave their lives for this country. Bringing up the sexual assaults (a crime in which someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty) is NOT the same thing because it didn’t happen DURING the game in front of millions of people. So to say that people WOULDN’T boycott the NFL if the NFL allowed that kind of assault to take place during a game is asinine.

    These NFL players exercised their first Amendment rights and so have the people taking part in the boycott. It worked with CNN when they continued lying on air or being involved in political collusion, so it’s working now that millionaire ball players have decided to insult the very country that gave them the lives they enjoy.

    Considering the man who started this was seeing little to no action ON the field you’d think he would stand for the National Anthem if for no other reason than to get off the bench for a few minutes. If he dislikes the America under its first black president then perhaps he should find a country where he feels black leaders treat black citizens better.

  3. So it’s completely fine for Cap to believe and do what he does and it’s free speech.He has that right,which was paid at a very high cost. But if fans wish to turn the game off and boycott because of their disgust of his actions, then it’s unacceptable and ignorant?

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