Colin Kaepernick was — and is still — blackballed from the NFL because he wanted police to stop shooting Black people. Anti-vaxxers in the NFL are whining because they don’t want to get a shot that could potentially save their lives. These are two problems that Roger Goodell and the NFL want no part of. And if there’s any truth to the adage “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” then the league should blackball every idiot who refuses to get vaccinated.
Let me explain.
When the NFL and its owners decided that Jan. 1, 2017 was going to be the last day Kaepernick played in the NFL, it was because they didn’t want to deal with their own racism. Trump had made the league his punching bag as he used the subject matter as a catalyst for this campaign. And with his inauguration then just weeks away, a league run by old, wealthy white men were not trying to address the humanity of Black people, even though police were steadily using us as target practice.
“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 in 2016, explaining why he sat during the national anthem. “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.”
Out of sight, out of mind. Well, that’s what they thought would happen if they blackballed Kaepernick. Boy, were they wrong.
“I wish we had listened earlier, Kap, to what you were kneeling about, and what you were trying to bring attention to,” said Goodell last year.
The NFL will tell you that they’ve tried to atone for their sins by donating millions of dollars to charities, playing the Black National Anthem before games, partnering with Jay-Z, and making PSAs that lead viewers to believe that they care about systemic racism and police brutality (they don’t). But, in the end, all the league has proven is that it will do whatever is necessary to eradicate a threat to its brand — even if that means blackballing a player that was once the face of the league. And since the precedent was set in 2017 — and in the name of equality — shouldn’t the league do the same thing to anti-vaxxers?
Eradicate the problem by blackballing them, that is.
“Going through all the things you had to do last year with masks, protocol, traveling, can’t leave for a day, can’t go out and see your family and all the things — can’t go out to dinner on the road, have to wear masks on the plane, all that stuff. It was just difficult,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer about his frustrations with some players not getting vaccinated. “I just don’t understand. I just don’t understand. I think we could put this thing to bed if we all do this. But it is what it is.”
According to reports, the Vikings have the lowest vaccination rate in the league.
“I talked to the team, and like I said before, there are quite a few guys that are just against it,” Zimmer explained. “I’m not going to be able to change their mind, so, it’s like half the country, I guess.”
One of those players is Zimmer’s quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins and Buffalo’s Cole Beasley have also complained publicly. It’s gotten to the point where Maryland’s governor is even calling on Lamar Jackson to get vaccinated.
So far, at least two assistant coaches have lost their jobs because they don’t want to comply with the league’s new guidelines, as a recent memo from the league basically says that they will prioritize teams with higher vaccination rates, while forfeits will occur if games can’t be rescheduled. According to the NFL, almost 90 percent of the players in the league have been vaccinated with at least one shot, while 19 teams have more than 90 percent of their players vaccinated, and seven teams have a vaccination rate north of 95 percent. Players are doing their part for the greater good, or at least so they can keep collecting their game checks.
In the same way that kneeling during the anthem dominated headlines and became a talking point for a presidential candidate in 2016 — while only a few players were participating — the small number of anti-vaxxers in the league are garnering the most attention while the majority of the players are being good soldiers. We’ve already seen what happens when someone challenges the league’s agenda. And since the NFL hilariously claims to be so hellbent on equality, then the resolution for dealing with anti-vaxxers is a clear one — blackball them.