(Photo: Getty Images)
On Sep. 8, activist and journalist Shaun King published an article on Medium with a call to action for people across America. “Let’s boycott the NFL together,” reads the headline.
King details that he personally planned to boycott the NFL this season as early as March, but, due to what he sees as an injustice to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, he decided that as many people as possible should join him.
King describes the issue of Kaepernick’s unemployment as more than just an issue about football. In his mind, it is just one of the many ways white supremacy has crept closer to the surface in the time since Donald Trump was elected president.
King says that Kaepernick is unemployed because he challenged the white-dominated order of professional football, not because he is a subpar passer. This statement was evidenced when, after the first week of play, three NFL starting quarterbacks (Scott Tolzien, Tom Savage, and Josh McCown) combined for a 50.7 passer rating. Further, in the second week of play, eleven starting quarterbacks, and one backup, combined for a 51.9 passer rating in the first half of each of their respective matchups.
For perspective, in Peyton Manning’s lackluster final season he still posted a 67.9 average passer rating, and Brock Osweiler, amidst his struggles to find a place on a roster, still has a career 77.9 passer rating.
In Kaepernick’s career, he has an 88.9 passer rating. His lowest season (2015) still registers at 78.5 qbr. So why isn’t he on a roster? For King, the answer is clear: his race combined with his willingness to stand up for himself and other badly treated communities is keeping him out of a league that could desperately user a passer of his caliber.
Along with publishing the article, King took to Twitter and Facebook to express his distaste for the league. He has even created a twitter account (@TheNFLBoycott) specifically to promote boycott actions. King recommends that people not watch a single minute of gameplay, even highlights until this issue is addressed. The boycott aims to take a shot at ratings.
Though ratings have been middling to low thus far, it is hard to tell whether that is in direct connection to King’s boycott or due to the fact that the NFL just hasn’t had as many exciting games.
Only time will tell.