Football Book Club Returns: #NoKaepernickNoNFL

Football Book Club is back for the 2017-2018 NFL Season, and if you’re looking for a good reason not to watch pro football—aside from the whole concussions/brain damage/ruined lives/early death thing—then we’ve got two words for you: Colin Kaepernick.

For those of you not in the know, the Colin Kaepernick Saga basically boils down to this: the quarterback sat—and later began taking a knee—during the pre-game National Anthem as a silent, non-violent protest of police brutality against people of color. About the protest, Kaepernick, who later donated $1 million to the charities focussing on racial justice issues, said:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

While Kaepernick’s protest met with support from some teammates and fans, it didn’t go over so well with the Rich Old White Dudes in charge of the NFL. And—surprise, surprise—at the start of the 2017-2018 Season, Colin Kaepernick finds himself a quarterback without a team or a job.

However, this strategy by the NFL—much like producing dozens of bogus research papers about how concussions don’t really harm players—hasn’t proved entirely successful.

A host of organizations are now calling for a boycott of the NFL, including the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.

“There will be no football in the state of Georgia if Colin Kaepernick is not on a training camp roster and given an opportunity to pursue his career,” said NAACP Atlanta Vice President Gerald Griggs. “This is not a simple request. This is a statement. This is a demand.”

Meanwhile, a group of black pastors are also calling for an NFL boycott. Pastor Debleaire Snell of the First SDA Church in Huntsville, Ala., explained the proposed #blackout this way:

Kaepernick engaged in a silent, non-violent protest. He did this to raise awareness to the number of brown and black individuals that have been beaten and killed at the hands of law enforcement across this country. Since the end of last season, as a result of this protest, Colin Kaepernick has been unable to find employment in the NFL. I find that strange, seeing that the NFL has employed individuals that have been convicted of sexual assault, domestic violence, cruelty to animals, along with driving while under the influence. A number of NFL owners have come out and stated the reason they cannot employ him is because of a fear of a backlash from sponsors or a certain segment of their fan base. And it’s interesting that they’ve capitulated thus far to a certain segment of the fan base while fearing no backlash from the African-American community…My belief is simply this. If Colin Kaepernick was willing to take a stand for those of us who are non-celebrities that would have to interact with law enforcement on a day-to-day basis, if he’s willing to take a knee for us, certainly we ought to take a stand, and stand with him.

Check out the #blackout video below:

Just this month, NAACP president Cornell Williams Brooks compared Kaepernick to Rosa Parks, and there’s currently an online petition at change.org calling for a boycott of the NFL—#NoKaepernickNoNFL—that has garnered close to 200,000 signatures.

So, if you suddenly find yourself with a whole lot of free time this NFL season, consider joining us at Football Book Club. This is the Year of the Long Read/The Fallacy of Youth, so we’ll be tackling In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust; An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser; and Compulsion by Meyer Levin. Check out our full schedule here!

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