Hollow Gesture Alert: Billionaire New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Would ‘Very Much Like’ to See Kaepernick Back in the NFL

BOSTON, MA - Rapper Meek Mill talks with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden on May 3, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the 76ers 108-103.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

These are the words of a billionaire owner of an NFL franchise, the words of the most (or second most behind Jerry Jones) influential owner in the league, the man whose team is led by a 41-year-old quarterback and a backup who probably isn’t even good enough to be fourth-string:

I would very much like to see [Colin Kaepernick] in the league,” Kraft told the New York Times.


Gee. If only Robert Kraft was in a position—you know, had the power and influence—to do something about that.

It reminds me of another largely empty gesture Kraft made back in April, when he visited rapper Meek Mill in jail instead of using his enormous influence to do something more than just symbolic, to perhaps have a real impact, rather than helping a celebrity rapper. Kraft could have signed Kaepernick to a contract as a backup to aging Tom Brady months ago, to show he really did empathize with the cause for racial justice. He didn’t then. He isn’t now. Until that changes, his words are hollow and should be treated as nothing more.

No brownie points for you, Mr. Kraft.

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About the author

Issac J. Bailey

Bailey is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow and author of the book, "My Brother Moochie: Reclaiming Dignity in the Face of Crime, Poverty and Racism in the American South." He's a husband and father.