Still unsigned football free agent, Colin Kaepernick has a new apologist -- a law professor and Islamaphobia researcher. One of the most outlandish and indefensible attacks on the NFL comes in an error-filled diatribe by Khaled Beydoun, a law professor at the Universit of Detroit Mercy and also a senior affiliated faculty with the University of California-Berkeley Islmaophobia Research and Documentation Project.
For a law professor, Beydoun displays serious problems with legal terms and accuracy, all demonstrated in his hit piece carried on the America-hating Al Jazeera website.
The professor repeatedly states that Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL. It was, he claims, punishment for his "condemnation of white supremacy." The word "blackball" is defined as "to vote against, especially to veto the admission of," and "to shut out from social or commercial participation; ostracize or boycott." There is no boycott of Kaepernick, and there is no organized league effort to silence him or keep him out of the league.
When Kaepernick refused to honor America in 2016 pregame ceremonies as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, he was "a pariah that not only threatened the NFL brand, but the very lifeline of modern professional sports, and particularly leagues comprised of predominantly black and brown athletes. Those have been reducing the athlete into a docile beast for mass entertainment, and punishing those who dare to step out as critical citizens," Beydoun alleges.
It's scary to think this man, with anger overweighing legal acumen, is teaching future lawyers. He goes on to say "the NFL only wanted the athlete, not the critical citizen and young black man living in the very country that, only one year before he led his team to the pinnacle, witnessed the murder of Trayvon Martin and the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. ... In the NFL, Black lives mattered only when making tackles, scoring touchdowns, and pushing the league brand."
In a court of law, any opposing attorney would move to strike those inerrant remarks. A little fact-checking would have revealed to the professor the following quote by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: “As I’ve said before, I truly respect our players wanting to speak out and change the community. ... We want them to use that voice. They’re moving from protests to progress and trying to make things happen in the communities, and I admire that about our players (being) willing to do that.”
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And a little check of legal accuracy would have revealed that no trial concluded with a charge of "murder" in the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.
The professor says Kaepernick's activism was viewed as crossing the line. Yet the quarterback not only completed the season as an active member of the San Francisco 49ers, he started the team's last several games. Teammates and several members of other NFL teams joined in the protest without retribution from their teams or the league.
Beydoun writes the league:
"[D]id not categorically restrict all political speech. The majority of its owners, and the face of the league, Tom Brady, are open Trump supporters. But rather, the league discriminated against the sort of speech that called the dehumanisation of black people into question and demanded justice for Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, and the scores of black men and women slain on the streets of America.
This so-called legal expert had more ammo to unload on the NFL, "a league so closely wed to uncritical American patriotism and keen on appeasing its 83 percent white fan-base, 'shut up and play' could very well be the unofficial tagline for the NFL."
Unofficial, as in non-existent. Kaepernick and other pro football players openly spoke their mind throughout the season and the subsequent offseason.
Beydoun also writes "the man's afro and unapologetic Blackness, and not his abilities, are why an NFL franchise won't sign him." Objection. Conjecture, your honor. Sustained.
Additionally, Beydoun asserts, "NFL brass and gatekeepers have dangled Kaepernick as a cautionary tale, used to chill the speech of other athletes and warn them of the consequences if they choose to speak out on controversial matters."
Those "gatekeepers" mysteriously dropped the ball and allowed Harold Jenkins of the Eagles and the Seahawks' Michael Bennett and Doug Baldwin to freely speak in support of Kaepernick.
Law Professor Beydoun's closing argument is that Kaepernick is someone who "stood up to his blackballing and chose freedom over a league that covets his body but castigates his mind."
Objection, your honor. Sustained!