Is Stephen A. Smith A Sellout?

Stephen A.
Stephen A. from ESPN’s First Take goes off on Colin Kaepernick

Stephen A. is now one of the highest paid ESPN sports analysts, ever. And for this, he is seen by some and maligned by many as a sellout, especially with regard to Colin Kaeperknick’s feud with the NFL, and his recent workout fiasco.

In light of the shenanigans surrounding the workout, Stephen A. voiced his opinions in his usual loud and lurid fashion. Instead of standing with the “Power to the People” position which sees Kaepernick as a martyr for “Black Lives Matter” oppression, Stephen A. continues to deride him as being a rebel without a cause, or more pointedly, a martyr for his own cause.

The jury is still out on Kaepernick. As for Stephen A., his rash, rambling rants sell air time. And so, as far as ESPN is concerned, mission accomplished. Because talking heads are paid to sell air time. However, has anyone paused long enough to consider it seems that more people are talking about the silly workout controversy and Stephen A.’s reaction to it than they are the actual reason why Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem before NFL games in the first place?

I like Kaepernick. I do. And I believe that he deserves, (or is that he deserved?) a second chance. And I like Stephen A. too. He’s a Philly guy. But just because I like them doesn’t mean I agree with them or agree with how they’re handling this situation.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I think it’s time for a fact check: the media has a way of selling and slanting a story, and it’s up to those who love the truth to find the facts. And here are some of the facts:

“Following Colin Kaepernick’s workout on Saturday, Stephen A. Smith of First Take took to social media and said that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback doesn’t actually want a job in the NFL. He believes that Kaepernick just wants to be a martyr. Monday morning, Smith provided more thoughts on the matter, saying that Saturday’s events just eradicate all of the QB’s points about the NFL.

During an expanded back-and-forth between Smith and his co-hosts, the longtime ESPN analyst explained why he has been critical of Kaepernick in recent days. To him, he doesn’t like how the free agent handled Saturday’s workout, including how he switched the location with fairly little notice.

As Smith continued to explain, multiple moments created questions for him on Saturday. Specifically, he pointed out that the NFL and all of the teams that were scheduled to attend the workout found out about the change in location roughly 30 minutes before the start of the event.

This timeline made it appear to be a last-minute change. It also made it far more difficult for the teams to attend the workout considering that the new location was roughly an hour away from the Atlanta Falcons team facility, which was the original location.

However, Smith said that there were factors that made this switch appear planned. The workout took place at a public high school, and it was captured by videographers on site. Additionally, there was security in place, as well as many Kaepernick supporters in “I know my rights” shirts. For the co-host of First Take, this was just evidence that the former San Francisco 49ers QB had planned to change the location. He believes that Kaepernick would have had to meet with the superintendent of the school and get permission to hold the workout on the field.”

On the other hand, here’s another, opposing and pointed point of view from Luther Campbell of the Miami Herald:

“In the battle to control the narrative of a controversial story, Uncle Tom-esque black pundits play a crucial role in tearing down black professional athletes who rebel against white sports franchise owners. The fallout from Colin Kaepernick’s controversial NFL workout this past Saturday is exposing commentators such as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

Stephen A. was one of the first to tweet and go on television to question Kaepernick’s intentions and justify why NFL teams have blackballed the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for the past three years because of his National Anthem protests. Tuesday, Smith also defended himself by yelling, “I’m a black man, you idiots!” and claiming throughout his career he’s “taken on the fight on behalf of African-Americans throughout this nation.” https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miami-city-commissioners-will-vote-to-give-themselves-taxpayer-funded-pensions-11319342

In sum, amidst the clamor and the clanging of media pundits spewing their opinions of Colin Kaeperkick, I’m so glad that I know and love the truth. Because His truth is marching on, the truth is the light, and truth shall prevail.

Nike and Kaepernick: “Just Do It?”

Kaepernick Nike Commercial
Nike’s 30th Anniversary “Just Do It” Commercial Featuring Colin Kaepernick

By Paige Gawley‍, Entertainment Tonight

“Colin Kaepernick’s Nike commercial is here!

Following the controversial announcement that the 30-year-old NFL free agent would team with the sports brand earlier this week, the company has released a two-minute commercial featuring the athlete.

The uplifting ad includes people of all types — disabled and able-bodied; girls and guys; kids and adults — trying to accomplish something. Though they don’t always succeed, they always keep trying.

‘If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good. Stay that way,’ Kaepernick says in a voiceover. ‘Because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult. It’s a compliment.’

The ad continues with specific ways to dream big.

‘Don’t try to be the fastest runner in your school or the fastest in the world. Be the fastest ever,’ Kaepernick declares. ‘Don’t picture yourself wearing OBJ’s jersey. Picture OBJ wearing yours. Don’t settle for homecoming queen or linebacker. Do both. Lose 120 pounds and become an iron man, after beating a brain tumor. Don’t believe you have to be like anybody to be somebody. ‘

The Nike commercial also features clips of famous athletes doing their thing.

First it’s Alphonso Davies, a teenage refugee from Liberia, who plays soccer for Canada. ‘If you’re born a refugee, don’t let it stop you from playing soccer for the national team — at age 16,’ Kaepernick says.

‘Don’t become the best basketball player on the planet. Be bigger than basketball,’ the footballer player says alongside video of LeBron James opening his I Promise School school in Ohio.

The ad flashes to Kaepernick, who declares, ‘Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.’ The statement references the fact that Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by an NFL team since 2016 when he was one of the first NFL players to kneel during the national anthem as a way of protesting police brutality and racial injustice in America.

‘When they talk about the greatest team in the history of the sport, make sure it’s your team,’ Kaepernick says of the U.S. National Soccer Team.

Shaquem Griffin, an NFL player with one hand, is featured next. ‘If you have only one hand, don’t just watch football, play it. At the highest level,‘Kaepernick says, ‘and if you’re a girl from Compton, don’t just become a tennis player. Dream of being the greatest athlete ever,” Kaepernick says of Serena Williams. ‘Yeah, that’s more like it.’

The ad ends with Kaepernick telling viewers, ‘So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they’re crazy enough.’

When news of Kaepernick’s new gig broke on Monday, there were strong reactions from both sides. Musician John Rich was against the ad, while the NFL and celebrities including Kobe Bryant, Common and LeBron James came out in support.”

So, what say you?  Is Nike exploiting Colin Kaepernick, or is Kaepernick just exploiting his situation?  Take your pick. Either way, if you can stand back and be objective, you will certainly conclude that there is more  meat than bones in this mesmerizing message.

 

The Politics of Sports, a.k.a., Who Wants To Be Uninvited To The White House?

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“You could see the end to this awkward dance between the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and President Donald Trump coming from 140 characters away.

Less than a day after so many prominent members of the Warriors reiterated their stance that they didn’t want to visit to White House to celebrate their title, and just hours after Trump’s inciteful rally in Alabama where he took aim at NFL players who protest the national anthem, he wasted no time in taking to Twitter – again.

‘Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!’ Trump tweeted.”  https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2017/09/23/donald-trump-rescinds-white-house-invitation-stephen-curry-warriors/696136001/

Wow.  

Much could be said, but here I yield to another writer, Michel Wilbon.

The following article is from “Wilbon,” (as Tony Kornheiser calls him), co-host of ESPN’s PTI, Pardon the Interruption, sports show.  Michael Wilbon hit the nail on the head.  In light of the ongoing media feud between the President of the United States, who rules from the White House, and athletes in the NBA and the NFL, I could write my own thesis or treatise on the subject, but Wilbon beat me to the punch.  Thanks Mike. 

“It was just before 3 a.m. Saturday, and I could hear the phone buzz from the incoming text. It was from Rex Chapman, a friend of many years now after I’d covered a lot of his college and NBA basketball career. For those who don’t remember Chapman, he was the sweet-shooting guard from Kentucky — white kid who could jump out of the gym — about to turn 50 this October. The despair he was feeling was coming right through the cellphone screen.

The text, in part, read, ‘I’m sorry about Trump. I’ve never been more ashamed. I hope you knew this before, but in case you didn’t I need to say it now. Love you Brother. Rex.’

This was an American man — white — feeling compelled to reach out to another — black — to make perfectly clear he didn’t support any of the garbage coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth. Not in the president’s Friday night Alabama speech, not in any rantings on Twitter. That Chapman didn’t think taking a knee during the national anthem meant a black football player was a “son of a bitch,” that he didn’t want any part of the hideous racial divisiveness that Trump was instigating.

I texted Chapman back to tell him I’ve known him well enough and long enough to know the only thing he has in common with Trump is race, and I already knew what side of any divide he was on … and that I loved him for composing and sending that text.

Chapman’s 3 a.m. communication was also a forecast of the storm coming right back at the president. Trump was either clueless about the blowback he’d get from the brotherhood of pro athletes, particularly African-Americans, or he’d seriously miscalculated the willingness of an industry of powerful people, most of them white, to stand with those “sons of bitches” who Trump demanded be fired for expressing the most fundamental American right.

Whether Trump was oblivious or misguided, I doubt he expected LeBron James to stand up for rival Steph Curry on Twitter. Could he have had any idea that white teammates would rally around black ones in locker rooms and on sidelines Sunday? Or that the team owners he wanted to fire those black protesters would link arms Sunday with those very players during the anthem? And the last thing he could’ve expected was New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, his friend, saying in a statement, “I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner they feel is most impactful.”

The beginning of Kraft’s statement, that there is “no greater unifier in this country than sports and nothing more divisive than politics,” might as well have been the NFL’s official position going into the day’s games. It even one-upped the statement from the measured NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who also called Trump’s comments “divisive.”

Those who thought Trump would fire back at Kraft and Goodell personally were left waiting. The president doesn’t waste his nastiest insults on white men, even those who disagree with him, when he has black men such as Curry and Colin Kaepernick to attack. And few, if any, African-Americans were surprised that the man who led the Obama birther movement and called Mexicans rapists said during an Alabama speech that a football player taking a knee during the anthem is a “son of a bitch.”

For a great many of us who find Trump and his actions somewhere between objectionable and loathsome, this latest episode illustrates once again that he is what we think he is. Black men taking a knee during the anthem enraged Trump, but a Charlottesville, Virginia, rally of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members carrying torches also included, in his words, “very fine people” who were just there to protest the removal of Confederate statues.

This isn’t lost on anybody paying even scant attention. As Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “These are … probably the most divisive times in my life, I guess since Vietnam … our differences, I’m speaking in terms of values, are so dramatically different. I’m talking in terms of inclusion and civil discourse and dignity. I thought his comments about NFL players are as bad as anything he’s said to this point. You’re talking about young men who are peacefully protesting, hallmarks of our country.

‘How about the irony of, ‘Free speech is fine if you’re a neo-Nazi chanting hate slogans’ but ‘Free speech is not allowed to kneel in protest’? No matter how many times a football player says, ‘I honor our military but I’m protesting police brutality and racial inequality,’ it doesn’t matter. Nationalists are saying, ‘You’re disrespecting our flag.’ Well, you know what else is disrespectful to our flag? Racism. And one’s way worse than the other.’

There’s an old adage in sports that conveys: You are what your record says you are. We know what Trump’s record is regarding race. And in taking on two leagues, one (the NBA) with some of the most famous people on the planet and another (the NFL) that features the most popular form of sports entertainment in America, Trump emboldened a population that is often reluctant to rally or take risk. Suddenly, with public backing from owners and leagues, players aren’t feeling their careers are at risk to the same degree as before.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wondered aloud during a television interview Sunday whether Trump is ready for the blowback from a community of people with so much national and global influence. And now those people, even the anthem-kneelers, find themselves being patted on the shoulder by sympathizers if not allies.

I texted Rex Chapman later in the afternoon to ask permission to share his thoughts publicly. Like millions of us, he was watching and listening, hoping to see definitive signs that we had progressed as a nation in our lifetimes, hoping that a choir of voices could overwhelm Trump’s.

I’m going to forward to Chapman the Facebook post of Dan Rather, a man who knows the sweep of American history. Toward the end of an eloquent and stunning rebuke of Trump, Rather sounded a note of cautious optimism that I’m certain Chapman was also getting at with his Saturday morning text.

‘We are not a nation of majority bigots,’ the former CBS newsman wrote. ‘The strident ranks of the intolerant can be overwhelmed by enough people agreeing that this is not who we are or who we want to be. Mr. Trump’s cheers can be drowned out by a chorus of justice.’ Even if that chorus is built one voice — or one text — at a time.

——-

Michael Wilbon is one of the nation’s most respected sports journalists and an industry pioneer as one of the first sportswriters to broaden his career beyond newspapers to include television, radio and new media. He is a co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.

https://theundefeated.com/features/donald-trumps-nfl-comments-inspired-a-response-he-didnt-see-coming/ 

Colin Kaepernick Deserves A Second Chance

Colin-Kaepernick-Sad-Face

Right now, Colin Kaepernick is looking down. His prospects of playing again in the NFL are looking down too. And his outlook and the current outcome of his nationally known protest against racial injustice are looking about as good as he is. But there’s always hope, right? I mean, everybody deserves a second chance, right? It’s called redemption. It’s called restoration. It’s called revival.

The truth is, 2nd chances are the foundation of our faith. Getting another shot is the backbone of our belief system. And coming back from the dead is the hallmark of our hope and peace. Upsets, comebacks and turnarounds are on every page of God’s Playbook.  And who on earth couldn’t use a little rejuvenation every now and then?

This is from the Undefeated.

“On the day Colin Kaepernick said he still wants to play in the NFL, five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady said the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback is qualified to play and he hopes to see him back on the field.

Former New York Daily News reporter and Fair Punishment Project writer-in-residence Shaun King posted a picture of himself with Kaepernick just after 11 a.m. Sunday, and less than 30 minutes later, quote tweeted his post explaining that he had asked the free-agent quarterback whether he wanted to continue playing in the NFL.

Less than an hour later, Brady threw his support behind the Super Bowl quarterback in an exclusive interview with CBS Sunday Morning.

‘I’ve always watched him and admired him. The way that he’s played he was a great young quarterback,’ the New England Patriots quarterback told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell. ‘He came to our stadium and beat us and took his team to the Super Bowl. He accomplished a lot in the pros as a player. And he’s certainly qualified, and I hope he gets a shot.’

Kaepernick started a national conversation about the injustices black people and people of color face in America and at the hands of police by sitting and eventually kneeling during the national anthem last season. He also has donated $900,000 of the $1 million he pledged to give to charitable organizations and advocacy groups last October.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract in March. Two weeks into the NFL season, he has visited with only one team, the Seattle Seahawks in May. The Baltimore Ravens discussed bringing in Kaepernick in July after starter Joe Flacco suffered an injury. Thirty-seven quarterbacks have signed with NFL teams since Kaepernick became a free agent.

Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that some Cincinnati Bengals players would like the team to consider signing Kaepernick. The Bengals have not scored a touchdown in their first two games, and starter Andy Dalton has struggled. A.J. McCarron is Dalton’s backup. The Bengals’ front office has not expressed interest in Kaepernick.

Last month, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it would be ignorant to believe Kaepernick is being held out of the league for anything other than his national anthem protest.” By Rhiannon Walker @InstantRHIplay; https://theundefeated.com/features/colin-kaepernick-says-hes-ready-to-play-tom-brady-hopes-he-gets-a-shot/

Amen Brother.

So whadaya say? Let’s start a national campaign to get Kaepernick back in the saddle. Because in sports and it life, everybody deserves a 2nd chance.

Colin Kaepernick and Race and Racism In Sports

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins

The Bible says this about “race:”

 And (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth . . .

Acts 17:26 KJV

We all bleed red. We all have red blood cells and white blood cells. And we all have a heart, but not all have “heart.” That’s the problem. We judge and prejudge based on the outward appearance, not on the inward quality. And that’s tragic. 

There is no African blood or Anglo-Saxon blood or Hispanic blood or Asian blood. God made us all of one blood.  That’s why the Civil Rights movement was so powerful.  White men marched with black men in the fight for racial right. And we’re still fighting.  Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said this in his famous March on Washington speech in 1963:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The NFL has turned its back on Colin Kaepernick. Once one of the starting QB’s in the Super Bowl, Kaepernick is now out of a job and out of the NFL. Many believe it’s because he’s been blacklisted and blackballed by NFL owners because of his silent protest of taking a knee during the national anthem at games in 2016.

“Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says Colin Kaepernick remaining unsigned reflects the state of the NFL.

‘I think the league is built on middle America, and most of middle America is predominantly a white crowd,’ Bennett said Wednesday. ‘That’s just the truth of it. I think race is not something that the NFL wants to be a part of or get behind. But the league is predominantly African-American.

So the issue that he’s dealing with is what we’re all dealing with. We all come from the inner city or we’ve been a part of communities where we felt like we’ve been judged because of the color of our skin . . .

Obviously, there’s the elephant in the room why Kaepernick isn’t signed, and most people know why.’ Bennett said. ‘I’ve said this several times, and I’m not afraid to say it: I think race and politics in sports is something people don’t want to hear about, nor do people want to be a part of.’ “

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/19643996/michael-bennett-seattle-seahawks-says-lack-colin-kaepernick-deal-demonstrates-league-racial-divide

And so the answer is really simple. Sports, the great unifier, is played by players of one blood.  The reason why we can’t separate sports and politics is because some cannot separate sports from racism, and bigotry and bias and discrimination, as Colin Kaepernick has come to learn, the hard way. And that’s too bad.  Like it or not, sports has long been used as a political weapon, and still is.

We have mislabeled each other. In turn, we’ve misjudged and mistaken our outward appearance for our inner identity. Black and white are not colors, but values. Yet, black is used to “color” the African race. Black is associated with darkness, depression and death. White, on the other hand, is associated with light and luminosity and life. And we have labeled each other, and we treat each other, likewise.  And that’s a shame.  

My friend’s daughter said it best:

One day her little kindergartener came home from school crying and emotionally distraught. “It’s been a really bad day.” she cried. “It’s been a really, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad day!”  “Why?” her mother asked. With sobbing tears and shirking shoulders the little one went to her toy box and got her crayons, and then dumped them all on the floor. She searched for one in particular and pointed it defiantly at her mother. “They said I’m black!” She wailed. “THIS is black, and I’m not black! I’m brown!”

 

Out of the mouths of babes.

Colin Kaepernick Has The Best-Selling Jersey In The NFL?

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So what do you think of Colin Kaepernick? I’ll tell you what kids and millennials and anti-establishment types everywhere think – they love him! Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers jerseys are reportedly flying off the shelves, so it looks like a lot of people have Kap’s back.

Colin Kaepernick might not be the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, but he’s leading the league in one stat — jersey sales. Since Kaepernick made headlines in late August by refusing to stand for the National Anthem, his jersey ranks as one of the best sellers in the NFL.

The latest stats on NFL jersey sales have Kaepernick’s jersey listed as the top seller on the NFL Shop’s website, ahead of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Wow.

So what do you think? Kaepernick has taken a stand by not standing up. He will not stand idly by and he will not stand for the continued abuse of power by a select number of police officers across the country. And that is the issue. Yes young black men are being disproportionally targeted, but at the end of the day, it’s the abuse of power that we all should be concerned about.   

Not standing for the National Anthem is the 2016 version of burning the American Flag, sort of. Students in the ‘60’s who  protested the Vietnam War, I mean the Vietnam “Conflict,” burned the flag as symbol of their angst and anger over the U.S. involvement in a squabble half a world away. Over 50,000 young lives were lost, and many, many more were injured and maimed for life because of a decision by policy makers to partake in a lost cause.

So, we return to question on the floor: “Is Colin Kaepernick justified in his protest?”   

Even President Obama has weighed in, and had this to day:

My understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag the national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who’ve fought for us — that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his deeper concerns are,” he said. “But I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about and if nothing else what he’s doing has generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about” (CNN).

Now let’s call Colin in to defend his position and to speak for himself.  Here’s what Kaepernik told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche:

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.”

Wow. That’s a powerful statement. So, agree or disagree, if nothing else, we must acknowledge that Kaepernick is raising awareness. And I do applaud him for that.