Colin Kaepernick’s letter to the New York Jets is the norm for successful Black Americans

Colin Kaepernick’s letter to the New York Jets is the norm for successful Black Americans

Colin Kaepernick did two very important things by allowing rapper J. Cole to publicize the letter he wrote to the New York Jets in pursuit of being signed as a practice squad quarterback. One, he painted Jets owner Woody Johnson into a corner. Two, he showed white people what almost every successful Black person has had to do at least once in their lives — go the extra mile when trying to obtain a job that’s beneath you, despite knowing that the powers that be don’t care, or grasp, how overqualified you actually are.

This is what it feels like to be Black in America. This is why we live by the mantra that, “You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have.”

The timing of Kaepernick’s letter couldn’t have been better, as quarterback play around the league has been far from stellar. But even if we just focus on what’s happening with the Jets, this was the perfect time to say something. Aaron Rodgers is done for the season with an Achilles injury. Chad Henne and Matt Ryan both said “Nah” when New York reached out to them. Zach Wilson has been atrocious every single time he’s taken the field in the NFL. Trevor Siemian is being brought in to serve as Wilson’s backup. If his name doesn’t ring any bells, it’s because he’s never done anything in college or the NFL to make you remember it. [Ed. note: Siemian played in one game for the Jets in 2019 — Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns while Sam Darnold had mono — but was injured and missed the rest of the year.]

From every angle, the Jets are screwed. All of the hopes and dreams of this franchise rested on Rodgers’ arm, as he was the perfect piece missing from the puzzle. But when you bet the house on one man, it can easily come crashing down due to injury.

For some, the idea of Kaepernick returning to the NFL after not donning a uniform since Jan. 1, 2017, is just too much to get behind — and I get it. I too, think that after you’ve made the NFL and Roger Goodell look like fools for years for blackballing you, your time in the league is over. But, if there was ever a moment to volunteer your services for an entry-level position when you have a Master’s Degree, this is it.

No one knows who runs the scout team because no one should care. Bringing in Kaepernick couldn’t hurt. If he sucks, you can let him go. If he’s good, you put him on the roster. And if you think he’d bring too much attention, this is a franchise that’s been the talk of the league for months due to signing Rodgers and appearing on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

If you’re a hater you don’t have any excuses left.

But, here’s the problem. This is a team that’s owned by Woody Johnson. And it’s not even the fact that Johnson once served as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. It’s that he got investigated by the State Department for racism.

“He’s said some pretty sexist, racist,” things, a diplomat with knowledge of the complaints made, said of Johnson in a report from CNN. It goes on to say that the man who owns a team full of Black players and assistant coaches “made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month.” It was also reported that his comments about women’s looks were “cringeworthy.”

According to Jim Trotter’s racial discrimination/retaliation lawsuit against the NFL, there’s an allegation in it that sheds more light on why the State Department had to investigate.

“A Black female diplomat told colleagues that in response to scheduling events during Black History Month, Mr. Johnson asked if he was going to speak to an audience that was, “just a bunch of Black people” and told her that she was “marginalizing herself.” Mr. Johnson also “questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month,” and argued that the “real challenge” was that Black fathers did not remain with their families.”

This is the man who Kaepernick — who was once a former face of the league and has Super Bowl and playoff experience — is trying to get a job from while understanding that Wilson and Siemian will never have to sit at home and watch for as long as he’s had to.

Colin Kaepernick has done extraordinary things on and off the field. But the most ordinary thing he’s ever done is send that letter to Woody Johnson and the New York Jets. This is the plight of the successful Black American.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.