Black Quarterback: The Shook Ones Episode
By Brandon Simmons
NFL is Shook by politics
The subtitle says it all and describes the very recent troubles the league has faced in recent memory. A couple of weeks ago, President Donald Trump called the firing of players who kneeled during the national anthem, as well as a boycott of the league. What ensued, was a response by players, coaches and owners like never before. That following Sunday, teams either kneeled, locked arms or stayed in the locker room all in the name of unity. Fast forward to this past weekend and their seems to be a different tune sung about the anthem. Players have been reporting to multiple media sources that the owners are forcing them to stand for the anthem. So why the sudden flip of the heart? Maybe because their heart wasn’t in it in the first place.
If the league was really about unifiying and respecting players, there wouldn’t need to be any directives set for the national anthem. That was suppose to be the whole point of the “protests” that weekend; but instead it became the symbol for responding to the whiny rhetoric of a billionaire. Originally, kneeling before the anthem was started by Colin Kaepernick to protest racial and social injustice; yet the league has turned it into something used as a weapon in a Twitter war with the president. And to make things worse, Vice President Mike Pence has somehow tag teamed himself into the fold. Sunday, Pence attended the game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers but ;eft when the players started to kneel.
Politics are going to bleed into our professions whether we like it or not; the NFL seems to want to ignore that possibility or they just don’t know how to handle it. There is no way shape or form that the league shouldn’t have used the kneeling as a response to Trump’s so called threats. If anything it makes them look discombobulated with their “stance”. On one hand, they’re telling players they have the right to protest whatever they feel; on the other hand, there are owners, such as Dallas Cowboys owner and Trump supporter Jerry Jones, who say there will be consequences if they kneel during the anthem. This is a game that the league mishandled from the jump. Kneeling and protesting should be something regulated by the players and the NFLPA. Over 70% of the NFL is African American or some form of POC and comes from communities where these injustices take place. The oweners only see a flag that you have to stand for to look great for ticketholders and nothing more. The NFL getting into a political battle is something they need to their gameplan over and probably take a knee to end.
The Ghost of Kaepernick
With all this talk of kneeling during the national anthem to clap at the president, Colin Kapernick still does not have a spot with a team; but they are definitely feeling it right now. There are a lot of factors that people love to point out as to why Kaepernick has not been signed this and most of them somehow deflect from the national anthem protest; which makes me think this is really about the anthem. But as the saying goes, “The chickens are coming home to roost,” and there are a lot of eggs being laid right now.
There are quite a few teams paying the price for not signing Kaepernick when they had the chance. The Miami Dolphins seemed like the perfect place for Kaep, until they drug Jay Cutler out of retirement and reunited him with head coach Adam Gase, who was also Cutler’s offensive coordinator in 2015, arguably Cutler’s best season as a pro. For that reason alone, it let the Dolphins off the hook but now they are struggling to get points on the board. The Balitmore Ravens had a chance to get him but too much fake concern by owner Steve Bisciotti hall-of-fame linebacker Ray Lewis threw that away. They were struggling in the two previous games before this past Sunday. But really it’s all about the players that have been signed over Kaep. Brandon Weeded was signed to the Tennessee Titans to backup Matt Cassell, which gives the team 2 quarterbacks unable to match the mobile skillset of starter Marcus Mariota.
It’s very fitting that in the month of October we are talking about the supernatural effects of not signing Kaepernick but it’s also fitting on ho its affecting the league. The last couple of weeks, the league has been battling the Trump administration over the national anthem protests, which were started by Kaepernick to protest racial injustice. However, they decided to use the protests in their own fashion and its backfiring. These quarterbacks signed over Kaepernick have not proven to be better than him or for their new teams. It’s very ironic that the very distractions some league owners and general managers claimed that Kaepernick would bring has been brought upon by themselves. If you’re going to take this much criticism over something that he began, you might as well sign him to a team.
Time for the Giants to blow it up
The New York Giants are spiraling out of control and hey might have to hit their own brakes to stop it. The team has yet to win a game this year while their offensive line continues to deteriorate. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall announced her was having season-ending surgery on his ankle. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. also is having the same thing for his ankle that he re-injured in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The only person left standing is quarterback Eli Manning and considering how the team’s luck has been running, he might be hemmed up by something pretty soon.
So far, this season has not made anybody’s job safe on this team. There are so many areas the Giants need help in, that pieces are probably going to be moved before the trade deadline or in the offseason. As mentioned earlier, the offensive line is trash. Last year, Manning was sacked 21 total times. This year, he has already been sacked 13 times, including 5 sacks in 2 separate games this year. It’s hard to throw the football when your quarterback is laid out on his back; also difficult when the star wide receiver stays hurt. The Beckham injury is not a new occurrence at all. He sat out the first game of the year against the Dallas Cowboys because of the ankle injury. He came and actually started to get some momentum going in his play, but the Giants still struggled on offense with very little protection and run game. They also found very little help from the other receivers Sterling Shepard and Marshall; the latter was supposed to be the veteran replacement for Victor Cruz but it did not pan out that way.
Since the Giants won the Super Bowl in the 2011 season, they have been relatively trash. Last season was the first time they made the playoffs since that wonderful season, but it ended with a disastrous loss in Green Bay and a controversial boat ride. The only easy game they have left on this season’s schedule is the 49ers, and that might not even be a slam dunk for them to win.
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl…for the Culture
After Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers beat the Dallas Cowboys on a late touchdown, it’s only right he tests his comeback skills the other comeback king, Tom Brady. It wasn’t that long ago that the Patriots quarterback had his own late game heroics against the Houston Texans. Down 28-33, Brady threw a strike in the end zone to wide receiver Brandin Cooks – who also caught the 2 point conversion – and put the Pats up 36-33. The chess match of which quarterback has the ball last would be epic on its own. Also, the fact that both defenses are amongst the more weaker units, it would probably mean a shootout is guaranteed to happen before the 2 minute warning even begins. It will probably settle a debate of who can put together the better comebacks between the two.
Shout out to Cleveland Browns rookie Myles Jack, who made his season debut. Jack was sidelined with a high ankle sprain. He recorded 2 sacks, including 1 on his very first play from scrimmage as a pro.
Shut out to the injuries that have gone on this past weekend. I mentioned earlier about the Giants losing Beckham and Marshall to injury; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt also suffered a season-ending injury in the Texans’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He fractured his tibial plateau but no word on how long the overall recovery will be.
Shout out to Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn for not breaking a fan’s face. Penn was caught on video approaching a fan after apparently the guy threw a bottle at Penn’s car. Security quickly intervened Penn walked away.
Shut out to the Adrian Peterson experiment in New Orleans. Peterson was traded to the Arizona Cardinals after failing to be utilized with the Saints. He now joins a backfield includes anoter veteran running back in Chris Johnson as well as a production of 2.6 yard per rush.
This past Sunday had some great games but this weekend should be a tad bit better. Surprisingly, it starts this Thursday with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers going at it. Both teams are 4-1 and coming off exciting wins of their own, so you can actually expect competitive football on a Thursday night. The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead and it might be closer that what people give it credit for. The Chiefs have played some close games this year but the Steelers will rise to the challenge on this one. But until then…I’ll holla.
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