Sunday marks the start of football season for most NFL fans, but at least one man, Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King, won’t be tuning in: he’s vowed to boycott the league until medicore second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick finally gets signed to a team.
He might be waiting a while.
On Friday, King provided his faithful followers with a thousand-word instruction manual on how to boycott the NFL in four simple steps, three of which — signing up on NFLBoycott.com, following the boycott on Twitter, and joining a Facebook group — involve little but subjecting yourself to further Shaun King missives (the other one is turning off your television and refusing to watch games or highlights).
“So, I’m asking you to join me in boycotting the NFL this year. We will end our boycott when Colin Kaepernick is signed to an NFL roster. It’s that simple. Listen, we have power,” King wrote. “Our money has power. Our viewership has power. Our buying power can sway what companies do or don’t support. But we have to unify and make this power mean something.”
Kaepernick, of course, has been persona non grata within the NFL since he began a campaign of protest against the national anthem. The campaign had twin effects: it propelled Kaepernick, who, despite his success in previous seasons, was a mediocre second-string quarterback doomed to warming the bench, to national promimence, and turned viewers off the NFL in droves.
Perhaps thinking his notoriety made him a commodity, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers; he ended up unemployed, with at least one team turning him down because of his reputation as a political troublemaker. Miami, as well, didn’t outright say they were dumping Kaepernick for Jay Cutler, but last year, Kapernick and members of the Dolphins got into a tussle over Kaepernick’s love of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, which Cuban refugee Miami fans just didn’t appreciate.
But Kaepernick also isn’t a really a commodity. He’s sort of a middling quarterback, and there are plenty of those to go around, even if Shaun King thinks Kaepermick is a superstart who’s been denied the limelight.
“These white team owners cannot believe that Colin took a stance against injustice in America without their expressed permission and blessing. And they particularly cannot believe that when they expressed their displeasure, that he continued to do it anyway — with players all over the league following his example,” King wrote. “That’s why they hate him. He is a quiet, peaceful man. To hate him says much more about you than it does about Colin.”
Weirdly enough, the NFL and its fans don’t seem to be losing too much sleep over Kaepernick’s unemployment, and given that ratings can’t get much worse, they seem willing to take the risk that Shaun King might tune out — especially if plenty of other people start tuning back in.