MINNEAPOLIS, MN – With the ongoing protests going on across the United States and the world following the murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, perhaps now is the time to consider allowing the return of exiled quarterback and social activist, Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, who took the league by storm back in 2015 in replacing former top overall pick, Alex Smith as starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, led the Niners to the Super Bowl. While he would soon struggle and eventually lose his starting job, he would become more famous—or infamous, depending on your point of view—for kneeling for the national anthem in expressing his stance against police brutality.


Which now has come full circle four years later. Thanks to a LeBron James tweet showing the image of a lifeless Floyd under the knee of the now-former MPD officer—and recently convicted of second-degree murder, Derek Chauvin—and a image of Kaepernick kneeling peacefully before a Niners game with the anthem playing, and the caption, “THIS…. Is. Why”

Being in both the photography and photojournalism business, a picture is worth a thousand words, the meme shared by LBJ—to paraphrase from Star Wars: The Last Jedi—was the spark that’ll burn the First Order of police brutality and systemic racism down. For those who feel that this is just a black issue, this is a human rights issue now. Period. End of story.

Those who are upset over the loss of material things are not upset about the riots and looting, it’s the fact that they have no place to escape to to take their minds off of it. Can’t watch regular TV or cable news without hearing or seeing a segment touching on the protests, or the possible return of Kaepernick.

These so-called “real” Americans who vented, bitched and complained about sticking to sports and keep politics out of football. Too bad that they can’t go on social media without seeing #BLM #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd or #BlackLivesMatter flooding their precious Facebook timeline.

Awww, boo hoo! So sad. Sorry not sorry!

And you know what, it’s time to check whatever proverbial white privilege you once had and realize that the world now knows what Kaepernick tried to warn us about four years ago, before his peaceful and just message was hijacked by No.45 alt-right Russian trolls and white supremacist supporters. Funny that these same people have no problem appropriating black and hip-hop culture.

How this all circles back to Kaepernick is the recent CNN op-ed titled, “Now is the moment to sign Colin Kaepernick by former NFL executive Joe Lockhart admitting that the NFL basically blacklisted the former Nevada University standout due to it being “bad for business” and that the Vikings should pick him up.

Aside from the fact that New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees put his golden-cleated foot in his mouth earlier—and later apologized—Kirk Cousins has been a $84 million flop of epic proportions. The Vikings should ask for a refund immediately and use a portion of that money to pay for police reform in the MPD and sign Kaepernick.

If there is one thing I learned down in Canton in covering the Pro Football Hall Of Fame Enshrinement is that the NFL is ALL about image. No other sports entity or brand is more particular about protecting it’s name and image as meticulously as the NFL values their “shield”.

Kaepernick being signed by a team would be HUGE, but CK landing in MSP would be BIGLY.

Both the NFL and Vikings would kill two proverbial birds with one stone in making Kaepernick the new face of the post-COVID-19, post-George Floyd protests in the epicenter and flashpoint of where it all started. On the field, Kaepernick would add the athleticism and arm strength to really make defenses sweat and keep them honest as he’d have to be accounting for on run defense and not just Dalvin Cook.

And with the additional benefit of playing in a billion-dollar palace such as US Bank Stadium, Kaepernick’s already impressive arm strength would only be amplified in throwing to possible targets such as Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph and Van Jefferson.

While I’m no Vikings fan or expert, from the outside looking in, there do appear to be signs that the Vikings are ready to dump the albatross that is Cousins and his huge contract.

While this may or may not happen, considering the current unrest across the globe, that Kaepernick first brought to all of our attention, now is the time to not only sign him, but make him the new face of a league that failed to get the message the first time.

 

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