For now, it seems the Colin Kaepernick saga has reached a fitting conclusion. All of that commotion and controversy appears to have ended not with a bang, but a whimper.
Kaepernick and his friend, Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, have agreed to a settlement with the NFL in their collusion grievance, as was widely reported yesterday. Both Reid and Kaepernick drew widespread attention and criticism when they kneeled in protest during the national anthem in 2016.
The attorney representing both players, Mark Geragos, posted a statement regarding the settlement online.
Reading between the lines, many have presumed that Kaepernick accepted a significant payout from the NFL through the settlement.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman claims his NFL sources speculate that Kaepernick received between $60 million and $80 million.
To be clear, that number from Freeman is pure speculation, but it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to learn that the NFL paid Kaepernick handsomely to sweep his collusion allegations under the rug.
Some Kaepernick supporters view this as a sort of win for the former NFL quarterback. At its face, walking away with likely millions certainly seems like a win.
But others? They’re not nearly as convinced about Kaepernick’s motives.
Take, for instance, former Kansas City Chiefs standout Larry Johnson. The retired running back spoke to TMZ Sports and made it abundantly clear that he was not happy with Kaepernick’s settlement.
“What do you think about this settlement?” asked the interviewer.
“I think it was a waste of time,” Johnson said. “He basically corrupted and diluted his message.”
Ouch. But not necessarily untrue. Johnson went further, excoriating Kaepernick.
“If your backdrop is going to be the African-American civil rights presence that it brought from the ’60s and you’re going to use that for your own causes, you don’t sell out,” Johnson said. “You don’t turn your message into a Nike hoodie.”
Johnson seems to believe that the NFL did, in fact, collude to keep Kaepernick unemployed. What also troubles him, however, is that Kaepernick had the league on the ropes and accepted money in lieu of his morals and principles.
“You gave them a way out,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what civil rights leader that you even saw or follow, that made you even think that selling out to your oppressor or signing a deal with your oppressor was the way to go. And I felt like that was a waste of time.”
Johnson claimed that his parents were big activists from the 1960s, and said that’s why he knows what he’s talking about.
At the end of the day, whether you agree with Johnson’s rhetoric or not, it’s hard to blame him for feeling that Kaepernick abandoned his cause. That’s especially true considering the way Kaepernick and his supporters have painted him as a martyr who willingly gave up his NFL career to fight against societal injustices.
Funny. Last I checked, martyrdom wasn’t supposed to be this lucrative.
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