Robert Bonitatibus ‘21
Former NFL players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid will recieve 17 million dollars from the NFL after winning their collusion cases against the NFL. Kaepernick and Reid filed a lawsuit against the NFL claiming the NFL tried to keep them out of the league due to their protests of police brutality during the national anthem. After Kaepernick’s contract was up at the end of that season no team signed him to a contract, forcing the player to take the matter to court.
Kaepernick and Reid’s protests of police brutality was controversial. Some fans supported him for bringing awareness to a serious issue while others believed him to be protesting the U.S. and decided to boycott NFL games. It was by global news outlets and direct tweets from President Trump. These tweets by the president did not sit well with the NFL players. That week entire teams kneeled or locked arms to protest what the president was saying.
During the same time as Kaepernick started to take a knee during the anthem, NFL television viewership dropped rapidly, which many commentators contributed to the protests. The drop in viewership could be due to many things. However, the owners and media though the most likely cause was because of the anthem protests. It even came to a point where Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would fine any of his players who did not stand for the national anthem.
The NFL is the biggest sport in the U.S. and it is also a business. Since the protests were cited as a reason for this drop, the NFL said they would fine players who kneel or do other forms of protest during the national anthem. The NFL thought this would solve their viewership problems, however this decision would made things worse for them.
Some commentators speculate that the NFL settled on the collusion case because they knew they would lose in the long run. .
This case reveals tensions between sports leagues and how much power players have to influence and spark change. This trial not only showed what the NFL was wrong in blaming Kaepernick for declining ratings, it also shows the disconnect there is between star athletes and the leagues that they play for.
This case also shows the power that star athletes have. Athletes have the power to spark change in our country. Many people look up to some of these player and want to be like them when they grow up. Fans of the athletes who try and spark change may change their opinions on matters. Athletes have a huge influence on our world since sports is a huge part of it. This trial showed just how much power players can have when they have a cause they think is worth fighting for. Times are changing and the powers of star athletes continues to increase over time.
Players who band together will be able to make the change they want to see in the world. Only time will tell if athletes will be able to have a strong influence on the future of the world. As of right now their opinions are national headlines.