Colin Kaepernick settled his collusion lawsuit with the NFL on Friday. We’ll never know the details, including the dollars he settled for, and the evidence he had. Let’s take a look at the story now that it is likely finally over.
You never know the true intention of a person. Only he knows. The emotions, feelings, and thoughts are simply unknown and never entirely understood. To us, the onlookers, we can only judge the intention based on actions, and comments. For Colin, this is what determines his reputation moving forward. Settling a lawsuit with the NFL certainly presents optics for the rest of the country to digest. Anytime someone settles, it’s an easy reaction to say the person never truly intended to go to court. They never thought they’d actually win, but they thought they had enough of a case to force a settlement. It’s commonplace in our judicial system. So, did Colin actually have a case that could have granted him a favorable judgment, or simply enough [frivolous] evidence to force the NFL’s hand? Seems it is the latter.
Sure, those who believe he championed a cause will say this is a victory. Colin had dirt on the NFL, took them to court, and forced their hand to settle. Those who believe he is an out of work employee who misconstrued his skill set with his activism will say this is a victory. He took the NFL to court, and walked away with a settlement, instead of fighting in public, and getting a judge to consider his case credible. Surprise, surprise. Another instance in America today where both sides can claim victory by changing a few words around and switching the perspective.
It is possible for both sides to claim victory here. Kaepernick should have 100% played in the NFL again. There is no doubt. Anyone who followed his career, and anyone who understands the game of football understands in their heart that he had enough talent to at least be a backup. Now, it is interesting to theorize what led to breakdowns in Seattle and Baltimore when allegedly offers were coming his way. This, we will never know.
Let’s also point out that he is likely the most polarizing athlete of a generation, and we largely have the media, activist organizations, and our president to blame for this. They all magnified his story, and ultimately raised it to a point Colin never saw coming. The original stance was to simply call attention to an issue most Americans feel requires attention. Police officers and how they treat minorities. Did he do it at the wrong moment? Some say yes, but had he done it at a different time, would he have gotten the attention it got? Absolutely not.
Fast forward and look at Friday’s settlement. The rumored range is between $60-$80 million. We do not know if this is true, and we do not know if this is the total the NFL handed to Ed Reed and Colin Kaepernick.
Fact of the matter is, Colin is richer today versus this time last week, and that is because of the lawsuit. No denying it.
Colin was richer last week versus the same day a few years ago because of his Nike contract. This, again, was because of his activism. No denying it.
So, is it Ok to profit from activism and stances? Sure, we live in America, and in a capitalist system these things happen all the time. It only takes one person or business to fund an action or cause they feel they can later profit from. Does it belittle his cause that he took a settlement? His adversaries will say yes, where his champions will say no. Fact is, this is what happens. Don’t fault Colin, or Nike. Fault the system. Remember, the system you fault is the same one that can afford you a similar opportunity.
Colin profited from a stance, and one which he didn’t personally suffer from. Colin was never down and out. He made money not playing football, while acting as if it was about football. It wasn’t. It was always about money. Colin didn’t get a concussion. Colin didn’t sacrifice his body. Colin didn’t spend time practicing for a contract. Colin was never a ‘poor, out of the job athlete.’ No, those are the athletes you never hear about, and the ones you’ll never know. The journeymen in all pro sports leagues. This is the story of almost every single athlete in the USA. They get to a certain point and then realize they’ll never go further. The checks aren’t going to come in anymore, and they must make a living, and that living is not as an athlete. Life literally stops, and everything they worked for ends. They have to pivot entirely. These are the people who Colin blew past in his Anthem Crusade. Stop acting as if Colin sacrificed something. As if.
Colin didn’t ever have a moment of ‘what will life be like after football?’ He has his name, his cause, his fans, and his enemies. He has it all. He has what almost no one has ever had in professional sports. So, let’s not chastise, or celebrate Colin. Let’s look at it like it is. He made money, and he will keep on cashing checks the more and more we speak his name. Let’s stop acting as if he is the second coming of Dr. King. He’s not. He’s someone who capitalized on his 15 seconds of fame more than anyone has in a generation.