*NFL training camps have started and Colin Kaepernick didn’t get picked up after the 49’ers dropped him last season.

Lots of people who have more knowledge than me about Kaepernick’s skills said he should have been signed by another team ahead of a few quarterbacks who were. Baltimore Raven Head coach John Harbaugh was one of those people.

After acknowledging his quarterback Joe Flacco’s injury issues and the team’s need for a good backup QB just last week, the Ravens signed somebody with no NFL experience and a dismal record as a college QB over Kaepernick, a proven starter and former Super Bowl contender.

Kaepernick attended a few try-outs this summer, but in the end he could be sitting on the couch like the rest of the fans when the regular season starts in a few months.

I think it’s because he had the courage to sit – when everybody else stood – during the national anthem last season as a silent protest against police brutality against Black men. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell won’t admit that and most white people won’t either. But the fact is and always has been that white people expect rich, highly visible black people to be seen and not heard, especially when their message is a contradiction to what white people want them to say.

That’s what happened to Bill Cosby: As long as he was making money for the networks through the popularity of ‘The Cosby Show’ and other endeavors they turned a blind eye to his (admitted) misconduct with some of his accusers for thirty years. But recently when he made serious moves to buy NBC or start his own network some white people didn’t like that. So they went back to some old rape accusations – despite the statute of limitations that made it illegal to hold Cosby criminally accountable.

In 2012 Actor Stephen Collins admitted in writing that he molested several underage girls, including a family member. And he has yet to be charged with anything. Collins is white.

kaepernick - vick

Colin Kaepernick – Michael Vick

In recent comments Michael Vick said Kaepernick should cut his hair and be quiet to make himself more attractive to NFL coaches, totally ignoring the reason they find him ‘unattractive’ in the first place.

Before you comment telling me that owners and coaches, just like any employer, have the right to hire or fire whomever they want and that’s why ‘Tommy ain’t got no job,’ realize Kaepernick was standing up for your rights when he didn’t have to, because the likelihood that he would be pulled over and not recognized as the pro QB with the nice fro or braids (depending on what day it was) and not get that pro athlete treatment is slim to none. But what Kaep realized and that you should too is that it’s not about just him. It’s about the black men he knows, as well as those he doesn’t know, who are treated less than civil because of the color of their skin. It’s about you and your family and friends who he doesn’t even know but cared enough about to put his job on the line.

Even though people can hire and fire who they want the fact is the NFL is full of black men whose performances put hundreds of millions of dollars in the pockets of those owners and coaches. Without those players those owners and coaches wouldn’t be the millionaires they are. So it’s not asking too much for those owners and coaches to give a dam what happens to those players and the men who look like them. It’s only right that they do.

While you’re watching your favorite player run, pass and tackle this season, ask yourself is it okay with you that his value ends when the game clock counts down to zero. If you’re okay with it, keep watching. If you’re not okay with it, do something to let the NFL know about it and let Kaepernick know his value didn’t end with the last pass he threw.

steffanie rivers

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] to send comments, questions or for speaking inquiries.