Is Colin Kaepernick being blackballed by the NFL? There are more than a few NFL players, coaches, and executives who have suggested that he is. And if you watched any of the NFL games that took place on Sunday afternoon, then you know that there are at least half a dozen quarterbacks playing right now who are worse than Kaepernick. Some people have said he should simply list them and present them as evidence that he’s being blackballed by the league as part of his collusion grievance.
LeBron James is the latest high-profile athlete to chime in and speak his mind on the Kaepernick situation. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin spoke with LeBron on Sunday, and during their interview, LeBron unequivocally said that he believes Kaepernick is getting passed over by NFL teams because of the protests that he started during the 2016-17 NFL season.
"I love football, but I’m not part of the NFL," LeBron said. "I don’t represent the NFL. I don’t know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing. I do know that. Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So I definitely do not respect that."
LeBron continued by talking about how he has seen a lot of football this season. In his mind, there are plenty of players in the league who don’t have the talent that Kaepernick has.
"The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because of the way he took a knee," LeBron said. "That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks—first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks—that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest."
LeBron also compared Kaepernick—who was named the "Citizen of the Year" by GQ recently—to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali during his interview with ESPN. James commended Kap for making the sacrifice he has made in order to stand for something important. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he’s done his whole life because he knew what he believed in," LeBron said, "I salute him. I salute and respect that."
Elsewhere in the interview, LeBron touched on the importance of Jay Z’s 4:44 song "The Story of O.J.," and spoke about the discrimination he faces on a regular basis despite being one of the most famous basketball players of all time. Go here to read more.