Professional football players who commit violent crimes almost always get a second chance in the NFL, provided that they can still play well.
However, it seems that many NFL executives are drawing a line against signing a player who doesn’t stand during the national anthem.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman has talked with several NFL execs who said they wanted no part of having Colin Kaepernick on their teams, even though the athletic quarterback could still help a team in need of a player at the game’s most important position.
“I don’t want him anywhere near my team,” one front office exec told Freeman. “He’s a traitor.”
“He has no respect for our country,” said another. “F*ck that guy.”
“In my career, I have never seen a guy so hated by front office guys as Kaepernick,” said an NFL general manager.
This is absurdly hypocritical for so many reasons.
Whatever you think of Kaepernick’s protest, it isn’t remotely comparable to some of the horrible things that other professional football players have done that have been overlooked by NFL front offices.
Let’s go down a (very incomplete) litany of horrors:
- Defensive end Greg Hardy viciously assaulted his former girlfriend and left her covered in bruises. Despite this, he was welcomed with open arms by the Dallas Cowboys after serving his suspension.
- Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked out his wife Janay Palmer in an elevator in 2014, and his team still publicly praised him as a man of great character. In fact, the team even posted an article written by a Ravens PR bigwig that was titled “I Like Ray Rice.” The team only released Rice once video of the incident came to light.
- Quarterback Michael Vick ran a brutal dog-fighting operation in which pitbulls were tortured and killed. He was nonetheless scooped up by the Philadelphia Eagles right after he finished serving his prison sentence.
- Minnesota Vikings running back was indicted for whipping his four-year-old son with a tree branch, leaving his legs covered in slash wounds. Nonetheless, he was welcomed back as a hero the year after he served his suspension.
- Wide receiver Donte Stallworth killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence of alcohol — that didn’t stop the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins or New England Patriots from signing him after he served his time.
You get the idea. Teams regularly overlook absolutely horrible behavior from players in the name of winning games.
But if you silently protest police brutality by sitting during the national anthem, it seems that you’re too toxic to have in the locker room.