The nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2022, include ... Colin Kaepernick and -- stop right there. This isn't someone's idea of a bad joke. A Vermont man with no connections to pro football seriously nominated the most polarizing player in NFL history for the game's highest honor. It seems anyone can nominate anyone for the shrine, with no shame for turning the nominating process into a farce.
Which would be fine -- there are always people with nutty ideas. Except that USA Today has taken up his cause.
Can you see it now? Inside the Hall of Fame, Kaepernick's exhibit will include the bench he first sat on in utter disrespect of the national anthem in 2016.
There would also be a patch of grass with a bare spot where the renegade parked his knee during the national anthem too many times.
And of course, the main attraction: Kaepernick's cops-are-pigs socks and his cops-are-slave-patrol tweet.
These are lofty social justice credentials, for sure. How bout the football credentials of Kaepernick? Those are pretty thin compared to current Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr and the others. There's the embarrassing 28-30 record as a starting quarterback and the 1-10 record as a starter in 2016. Kaep needs an end run around football brilliance to get into the Hall of Fame, and fortunately for him, there happens to be one available.
Bob Birkett is a retiree from Vermont who would render the Hall of Fame a joke with his Looney Toons nomination. The Kaepernick fan club at USA Today is milking this sham for all it's worth, too. Columnist Nancy Armour and Birkett argue that Kaepernick must be inducted because of his social justice contributions to pro football.
In a letter to the Hall of Fame this summer, Birkett said:
It is my pleasure, privilege, and responsibility as a supporter of racial equality to nominate Mr. Colin Kaepernick. Mr. Kaepernick has shown exceptional courage in highlighting the damaging effects of racial injustice on Black people and on our society as a whole. His respectful kneeling posture has created a powerful symbol for those who are oppressed by our society.
Go ahead, NFL, just do it. Put him in, and while you're at it, install a huge Black Lives Matter display over the Hall of Fame building in Canton, too. So much of sports is succumbing to social justice madness anyway, so the Hall of Fame might as well surrender, too. Kaepernick-inspired radicals are ruining sports for so many fans, and very little in sports is sacred anymore. Just finish off the social justice take-over with one more sports icon: the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Kaepernick has gotten a raw deal for so long, Birkett told USA Today. “It’s a little bit like (Muhammad Ali refusing to serve in Vietnam). The initial reaction was, 'Holy cow what a horrible thing.’ Then a little while later, it’s like, 'Man, that guy had some guts.' “You think, 'What can I do? I can’t force an owner to hire the guy. But darn it! I can put him in the Hall of Fame.”
Armour wailed about Kaepernick being vilified for shaming America, which "has a different set of standards for Black and brown people, with harmful and sometimes even deadly consequences[.]" She defended Kaepernick because President Donald Trump raged at him, fans derided him and NFL owners put profits ahead of principle by blackballing Kaepernick.
Armour was surprised that Birkett, who lives in "one of the whitest states in the country," saw the virtue in Kaepernick’s protests, and it’s always bothered him that others couldn’t. Armour just managed to combine racism and identity politics in a story about football.
Furthermore, Armour said a Kaepernick nomination to the Hall of Fame deserved debate because of its "contributor category" for those who have made “outstanding career contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching.” Kaepernick sacrificed his career because he wanted to make his country better, she wrote.
Others would say he threw his career away with his abysmal behavior off the field and declining performance on the field, and his induction into the Hall of Fame would be the last straw for people writing off politicized sports.