Some NFL analysis have argued that Colin Kaepernick has effectively been blackballed through from the league. Several have commented about his non-signing. For example, FiveThirtyEight notes how unusual for a quarterback of his skill to not yet be signed. Jason Reid argues that fear of fan backlash seems to be the reason why he is not being signed. I think they are right. Kaepernick is not an elite quarterback, but he is clearly good enough to at least play a backup role next season.
I should join this protest at his non-hiring. After all I pride myself on my stance on free speech. I really do not care about what Kaepernick has to say. I do not look for wisdom about our social order from an average NFL ball player. But I should care that he is essentially being fired for speaking his piece. And yet I don’t. Let the chips fall where they may.
The reason for my apathy is simple. Many of the same people showing concern for Kaepernick were very quiet when Eric Walsh, Brendan Eich, Benham brothers and others were being fired for not supporting same-sex marriage. No, I do not expect sport writers to care about their firing, but many of the complaints have come from activists who had every right to set a standard of free speech when Walsh, Eich and the Benhams were under attack.
By the way, Kaepernick did his protest while at work, if you will. He protested during the National Anthem of football games. Walsh was fired for sermons he made in his own church, away from work. Eich was pressured away from his position for a contribution he made, once again not at work. The Benham brothers were removed for speaking at a rally against same-sex marriage, not for what they did during their show. So if people can be fired for what they say outside of the job, why would Kaepernick be safe for his protest on the job?
I remember reading a bit about why it was okay to fire these individuals. The line was that you have a right to free speech but you are not free of the consequences. It is a stupid line when you think about it. I mean technically that applies to anything. I am free to speed in my car, but I am not free from paying the consequences which will be a ticket.
So why can we not apply the same logic here. Kaepernick is free to say what he wants but not from the consequences. In this case the consequence is the chance to play in the NFL. If you accept the logic for why the others were fired, then it is pretty hypocritical to ignore that logic now.
Now you may call me a hypocrite for not fighting for Kaepernick like I was willing to for Eric Walsh. But you would be wrong. You see, I do not think progressives are willing to consider the rights of non-leftists until they face the same fate. I am perfectly willing to support Kaepernick being given fair treatment. But as long as the voices protesting what is happening to Kaepernick insist on being silent when it is a conservative Christian, then count me out. I will not support a double standard where progressives can bring their views to work while cultural conservatives can be fired for voicing opinions away from work.
At the time of this writing, there is a chance of a last minute signing for Kaepernick by the Baltimore Ravens. If he gets signed, then he will have been given more grace than Walsh, Eich and the Benhams. If he does not get signed, then it is tough luck. He is now in an environment where we have watered down free speech. He is suffering from that new reality.
So if you want to know who is responsible for creating an environment where Kaepernick may not get a job, then please stop looking towards conservatives. They did not sabotage free speech in this way. It was the anti-free speech left that did this. I think a lot of Christian conservatives would be quite willing to call a truce on getting people fired for their political or religious opinions. I am not very confident that those invested in firing conservative Christians, who affirm traditional morality, feel the same way. Maybe if a couple more political progressives lose their jobs, then that will change.