Of All the Reasons to Boycott the Trash-Ass NFL, Colin Kaepernick Not Getting Signed Is Waaay Down the List

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images
Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

In the time since I began writing this, Jay Cutler could’ve broken his right ring finger after punching a bag of Hot Cheetos for just being moderately warm instead of “Flamin’,” and the Dolphins, in need of another quarterback, could reach out to Colin Kaepernick. But for now he remains unsigned, and the only logical reasons for his prolonged bout of unemployment are that 1) teams are turned off by his particular brand of activism (which draws attention to the idea that black people kinda sorta hate getting beat/choked/stunned/shot to death by the police and would prefer for them to stop) and 2) teams are scared of the fan reaction if they were to sign him.


Neither is very flattering for the NFL—a league that is 68 percent black—and many black (and nonblack) fans have expressed their plans to boycott the league. I’ve had conversations about it, I’ve read pieces, tweets and status messages about it and there’s even a Change.org petition floating around with over 70,000 signatures. From the petition:

If you are appalled by this, then show your power by boycotting the NFL until Kaepernick gets signed to a team. This means to not watch any games, no social media comments about your favorite team before/during/after the games, don’t attend the stadiums, and don’t buy any merchandise which represents the league or your favorite team.

We understand NFL is very important to you. We also understand the purpose of Colin Kaepernick’s protest is FAR more important than any games you will ever watch. Simply put, if things stay the same for the way America — where “all men are created equal” — treats people of color, then your loved ones, friends, and children will eventually be affected as well.

It is laudable that so many people seem to be so committed to justice and racial solidarity that they’re willing to opt out of America’s most popular religious practice just to make a point. But I have to wonder which NFL they believed they were supporting before. The NFL been trash. The league has been a dumpster fire of craven and hypocritical fuck shit.

We already know that the only thing less arbitrary than their policies on crimes against women is the enforcement of said policies: judgments based on 1) Is he still a good player? and 2) Did anyone actually see him do it? We already know that the NFL—the most dangerous of the four major professional sports—happens to be the only one without guaranteed contracts. We already know that the sport has an annoying tendency to zombify its players, turning their brains into Cap’n Crunch. (And we already know that they lied for years—decades even—about that.)

We know that they made a big deal every year of supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, even going as far as producing and selling pink jerseys and equipment for teams. And then we learned that only 8.01 percent of money spent on pink NFL merchandise actually went toward cancer research. We already know that the league has fused itself so transparently and shamelessly with nationalism and patriotism and the military that watching Monday Night Football is like attending a fucking Civil War re-enactment. There’s more. But I’ll stop because again, these are things we already know.

I get that, for many of these fans, the Kaepernick blackball is the straw that broke the camel’s back. But again, the NFL been trash. They give no fucks about Kaepernick because they’ve given no fucks about anything other than getting your money and removing whatever might be in the way of getting more of it.

You can’t give any fucks about black people if you don’t give any fucks about people. This is how they’re able to reason that Kaepernick remains unsigned because he’d be a distraction while players accused of distracting-ass shit like rape and aggravated assault remain on NFL rosters, and a Hotep preacher accused of killing two actual people is thought of as the best person to mentor Kaepernick into respectability. Having Kaepernick exist as your NFL straw in 2017 is like boycotting Trump because his hair is the color of Clorox.


So am I saying don’t boycott? No! Yay boycott! Boycott the fuck out of them! Throw boycott parties with complementary avocado toast and chorizo frittatas! Just remember that the NFL is trash, has been trash, and will continue to be trash even if Kaepernick is on a team.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Junior Seau killing himself really opened my eyes. He wasn’t the first, but growing up in southern California, I had a poster of him as a kid.

I viewed NFL differently and noticed how awful “Now it’s time for ‘Jacked Up’” segment was. I stopped for good before Ray Rice dragged his wife out of an elevator.