There’s a lot of passion on both sides of the ongoing Colin Kaepernick saga, with supporters contending that the protesting quarterback is being blackballed by the NFL and detractors, somewhat inconsistently, alternating between arguing that (1) it’s not a political thing, he’s just not good enough to play; (2) teams don’t need the “distraction” he provides; and (3) he’s an un-American ingrate who outta be put on a rocket and blasted into the sun (or something).
One argument I’ve heard frequently from Kaepernick detractors is that it’d be silly to believe that team owners and executives would avoid signing a player they believe would help their team because all team owners and executives care about is winning. Ergo, the argument goes, it must be based on his skills as a quarterback.
I don’t now enough about football to argue intelligently about that, but one man who has spent decades as a high-ranking front office executive for a professional sports team has no trouble believing that owners would spite themselves by avoiding Kaepernick: Hank Aaron.
Aaron, who is the Atlanta Braves senior vice-president and who has served in various other capacities for the club for years, says Kaepernick is “getting a raw deal,” and that the reason Kaepernick isn’t signed is due to the wishes of the team owners. He added that he’d like to see other players join Kaepernick’s protests.
I’m not suggesting that Hank Aaron could go and be the GM of an NFL team tomorrow or that he is some authoritative voice when it comes to a man’s football skills, but (a) the guy knows more about discrimination and injustice in sports than anyone else alive; and (b) has been in a front office for nearly 40 years. That he has no trouble whatsoever believing that an athlete is getting blackballed should make those who think such a thing is impossible take notice. At the very least, it’s worth taking his views on the matter seriously.