Professional football players this season are filling the void that unemployed Colin Kaepernick left behind. He’s no longer around to make his anti-American statement throughout this season of the sport, but there are more millionaire athletes where he came from that are all too willing to take the lead and pick up where he left off.
It would seem that many athletes who came from nothing and rose to sports stardom wouldn’t want to replicate the demise of Kaepernick’s career. The stance they are taking may make them popular among people for a moment but they will be forgotten as soon as they’re fired from their favorite team.
After that, nobody cares who you are, what you stood for, or what bills you have to pay now. You’re the player who made politics your game and not the football franchise who employed you to do a job of winning a game you lost by making a point in the wrong way.
At the end of the day, being a professional athlete comes with a big responsibility and most importantly, it’s not just a game — it’s a job. The ramifications are real and no matter how right you think you are and your freedom to do what you want on the field, the American people who pay to watch you play, also often have a part in writing your paycheck.
This is not a lesson that Tennessee Titans defensive tackle DaQuan Jones takes lightly. Luckily for Jones, he learned it before it was too late, but the same can’t be said for all professional football players.
Kaepernick’s difficulty in finding a job on any NFL team did not go unnoticed since his political stance throughout the season hadn’t. He became a cancer to the league by every team in the NFL recognizing that while he may have once been a well-respected quarterback at one time, his politics took precedence over his performance.
That reputation followed him throughout the season, becoming worse for him as it went on. Now, as a free agent, he’s finding himself without a job and the group he kneeled in protest for (Black Lives Matter) to make a point at every game, isn’t hiring or at least paying what he’s accustomed to making in the NFL.
This is a brutal reality which the Titans’ player recently woke to after protesting the National Anthem like Kaepernick did. He’s seeing this once respected player now unemployed in his prime and is afraid for the same demise. He just woke up and realized what’s really important and it’s not anti-American activism, unlike many players who will infamously end their careers on this racist note.
Bleacher Report reports Jones’ eye-opening announcement that other players need to take note of before it’s too late.
After seeing the difficulty Colin Kaepernick has had finding a job with an NFL team this offseason, Tennessee Titans defensive tackle DaQuan Jones is uncertain if he will continue to protest during the national anthem before games this season.
Per ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, Jones explained why he is now hesitant to continue joining some of his teammates in the protest.
“It’s going to affect your job, your endorsements and your money,” he said. “Someone like me, going into my fourth year, I’m trying to get paid too. A lot of teams will look down at that and say, ‘He’s a Colin Kaepernick.'”
Jones had joined defensive players Jurrell Casey and Wesley Woodyard in their show of defiance, by raising a fist in protest before a game. The three symbolically replicated the move that the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter movement made popular.
If the point that these players are trying to make on the sidelines is so important to them, they should go about making a difference in a meaningful way. Raising your fist or sitting for the National Anthem doesn’t change anything for the cause.
Although Jones started all 32 games over the past two seasons, he was a fourth-round pick for the Titans in 2014, and not the top player in the league. However, he’s wiser than the rest by learning from Kaepernick in a different way than the other players.
Jones sees that the polarizing protest isn’t worth all that he’s worked hard to achieve and more importantly the sports isn’t a place for politics. Other players won’t learn this before it’s too late, when they go to start a new season and can’t get signed by teams who consider their bad reputation a risk to the franchise.