Spike Lee announces rally for Colin Kaepernick to be held outside of NFL headquarters in NYC
To call it the cause of only Colin Kaepernick would be shortsighted. He’s but one quarterback and one person, but his efforts to call attention to police brutality in America have officially gained the attention of the biggest names, even outside of the sports world.
On Tuesday morning, Spike Lee tweeted about a rally for Kaep outside of NFL headquarters in New York City on Aug. 23. In conjunction with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., The People’s Consortium for Human and Civil Rights Inc., and Justice League NYC, among others, the goal presumably will be to express displeasure at the perceived blackballing/collusion/whisper campaign or whatever you want to call it that’s kept the Super Bowl XLVII starting quarterback out of the league.
Why now? Well, that’s easy. Once the Baltimore Ravens flirted so closely with the idea, went so far as to tell fans that they were considering the move, and even had owner Steve Bisciotti asking fans to “pray” for the franchise (uh, what?), they backed off. The team in the one city that knows and fully understands the real-time effects of police brutality gone unfettered had a chance to make a real statement in a place where he likely would have been decently well-received, got this close and then backed off. It was the first official stance from any team that was officially no longer about football.
In the interim, a Change.org petition to boycott games if Kaepernick doesn’t play this season is up to nearly 80K in signatures. Tuesday, they reacted to the news. “We love seeing football fans use our platform to speak out and shape public dialogue on causes they care about,” they told The Undefeated. “This is the biggest NFL-related petition we’ve seen this year, which speaks to Americans’ interest in sports figures who take on social issues. It’s just one example of how people use Change.org to spur action, in football and other parts of society.”
Perhaps most interesting about this entire situation is the involvement of Kaepernick’s fraternity. For a Greek organization to be at the forefront of what will effectively be a national protest is not standard operating procedure.
Whether nearly 100,000 people turning off their televisions, cutting their satellite packages or not showing up to games will make a huge difference in what an NFL owner thinks (because this clearly isn’t just a GM or coach decision), who knows? The Dolphins went and ripped a guy out of the broadcast booth from retirement before he even had a chance to start that job, instead of deal with Kaepernick.
Of course, there are timing issues related to training camp, not to mention Kaepernick turning off a decent amount of the Miami fan base with a shirt featuring Fidel Castro, so that comparison is probably a tad unfair. Nonetheless, he’s not playing there and they’re paying Jay Cutler $10M a year.
The date comes almost a year to the day on which Kaepernick first sat during the national anthem, a situation that didn’t really get much notice until a couple of weeks later when he took a knee before a game. That game was at home against Green Bay, the third preseason game. The 23rd, this year, is the day before the third NFL preseason week. So the timing makes sense.
Too bad they misspelled his name on the flyer.