Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem has drawn qualified support from his fellow NFL players, but one group are not happy: NFL executives, who say they wouldn’t sign Kaepernick to their teams.
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Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report spoke to seven anonymous NFL executives, and Freeman reported that their outrage over Kaepernick’s stance was near universal. One official said Kaepernick was as disliked among the league as Rae Carruth, the former Panthers player who was found guilty of conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend. Carruth is currently serving a 24-year prison sentence in North Carolina.
“I don’t want him anywhere near my team,” one front office executive said of Kaepernick, according to Freeman. “He’s a traitor.”
Freeman said each executive he spoke to wouldn’t sign Kaepernick to play on his team.
“He has no respect for our country,” one said. “Fuck that guy.”
One general manager told Freeman: “In my career, I have never seen a guy so hated by front office guys as Kaepernick.”
Freeman wrote in his piece that the disdain towards Kaepernick was hypocritical. “Personally, I think the dislike of Kaepernick is inappropriate and un-American,” he wrote. “I find it ironic that citizens who live in a country whose existence is based on dissent criticize someone who expresses dissent. But in NFL front offices, the feeling is very different.”
One owner told Freeman that he would rather resign that sign Kaepernick. Each executive said he thought Kaepernick would be released by the 49ers – and never play in the NFL again.
Freeman pointed out that Kaepernick had not broken any rules, and that several players who had committed actual crimes were still playing in the NFL. “When challenged that Kaepernick didn’t break a law, or an NFL rule, and that it’s his right to sit during the anthem, the response, consistently, was that it’s also a team’s right to not sign him. And to also dislike him,” Freeman wrote.
He continued: “This is a league that has signed domestic abusers, accused murderers, players who killed another person while driving drunk and dudes who park in handicap spaces. But Kaepernick is the most hated person he’s ever seen? A non-violent protest? Really? Yes, apparently, really.”
Kaepernick, 28, was taken by San Francisco in the second round of the 2011 draft. In 2012, he replaced the injured Alex Smith midway through the regular season, and led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl since 1994, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
He announced that he wouldn’t be standing for the national anthem last week.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “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.”
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