For years, my Sundays were spent in front of a television (either at a friend’s house or at a sports bar, mostly) watching football. The technicality of the sport enthralled me—the subtle, mostly-unnoticeable skill and precision of the players on the line is what captivated me most—and while my appreciation for the sport has not waned, my fandom has. This past season, I did not watch a single game, attend a single game, seek out any highlights, or even concern myself with the standings.
My problems with NCAA football are well-known and fairly obvious; my disdain for the NFL has been slower to percolate. It took me some time to realize it, but the League was actively working against the things I believed in; player safety, social activism, and equitable representation are being consciously ignored and sidelined
The recent collusion of league owners against Colin Kaepernick has further cemented my feeling that the NFL isn’t a sports league for people like me:
In the clearest display of the bigotry still plaguing the NFL, no team – in a league desperate for capable quarterbacks – has signed Kaepernick, a man who led a team to the Super Bowl just a few years ago, and, oh yeah, started a nation-wide conversation about racial injustice and police brutality last year when he took a knee during the national anthem before football games. […]
Kaepernick is using his voice, his platform, and his money to actually make a difference. That’s something that the NFL should be championing, not condemning. […]
Kaepernick is not just a black quarterback in a league that has historically discouraged such a combination from existing; he’s a black quarterback who is unabashedly embracing his blackness and speaking out against injustices to his community. He is a black quarterback who refuses to shut up and merely play the game. He is the NFL’s worst nightmare.
What does this mean? It means that, more and more, I am losing my interest in professional football, and because of it, in the sport of football itself. The League and sport will not miss me, but it does raise an important question: if football is no longer a sport for people like me, who is it really for?