When Sacrificing Everything Gets You Paid

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers

How ironic is it that in a league that tinkers with its overtime rules in order to minimize the chances of a tie, its biggest story becomes just that. Because that’s how I’m feeling after the Kaepernick/Reid settlement with the NFL. It feels a hell of a lot like a tie to me, and here’s why.

On the one hand, the dudes got paid. And by virtue of the gag order attached to this, the NFL has admitted to some form of collusion. Granted, we might never know to what extent and who the major players were, but still . . the league lost.

Or did it?

Because this settlement shakes out to where each owner will pay out about a million and a half bucks a year. That’s sofa cushion money in a league where the average franchise is valued at more than two and a half billion dollars. Chalk it up as a loss for the league owners, but call it what it is: Hush money.

The league doesn’t lose high profile cases very often, not without means that protect their rear ends they don’t.

In 1982, Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL when they blocked his proposed move to LA. Davis won the suit and moved his team to LA, after which he kept right on going after the NFL. Davis sued for LA market rights, after which he sued for the right to move everywhere from Sacramento and Inglewood to Kilimanjaro. He lost every time and eventually became an eccentric ‘renegade’ millionaire while the league just kept getting bigger and stronger.

The NFL is an entity that has navigated every kind of shit storm, and has always come out smelling like a rose. Consider . . .

  • Gun scandals (Plaxico Burress, Adam Jones, et al)
  • Political scandals (Eddie DeBartolo)
  • Spy-Gate (Patriots)
  • Bounty-Gate (Saints)
  • Michael Vick dog fighting ring
  • Ray Lewis’s obstruction of justice plea in a murder trial
  • Ray Rice arrest on assault charges
  • Ben Roethlisberger suspension on alleged rape charges
  • Aaron Hernandez murder conviction
  • CTE

Those are only some of highlights of the league’s off the field ‘business’ since the turn of the millennium. And yet, league revenue is at an all time high with expectations that legalized gambling will send profits into orbit.

If a league can’t be tarnished for covering up brain injuries, do you really think it’s losing sleep over a national anthem protest? Me either. The NFL has already paid out more than half a billion dollars in its concussion settlement, and nobody is talking about it. So this anthem protest settlement is all about sating Kaepernick and Reid without having to divulge more sensitive information. An insurance policy, if you will.

As for whether Kaep gets another shot in the NFL, that’s as much on him as it is on an NFL owner. If he wants to be a starter who demands starter money, it’s going to be tough sledding. In his last season, he finished with 16 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. His quarterback rating, however, was only 49 percent. Rival coaches and GM’s believed they had figured him out.

Two years ago, I argued that my Dolphins should have signed him. Instead, they blew 10 million on a washed up QB. At the time, owner Stephen Ross claimed that to sign Kaep would have been an affront to the city’s Cuban population. This was in reference to the quarterback’s glowing opinion of Fidel Castro and Che Guvara. But what of the ticket paying population who were laying down big league money for a minor league product? Spare me the politics and give me some sizzle, not to mention a halfway decent shot of being competitive.

Again, what happens from here is mostly up to Kaepernick. His compadre in the anthem protests, Eric Reid, has an NFL job. If Kaepernick really wants back in, he would be wise to invest that settlement money wisely whilst being reasonable as per his value to a team at this point.  I don’t doubt a team would sign him, if he was willing to take less money and maybe even go in as a backup. Get in the door first, then show them what you got.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like Washington or Carolina signed him as a potential starter or integral backup, respectively. And don’t count out the Patriots, who ain’t afraid of controversy. The particulars of a Kaepernick contract are almost as fascinating as finding out whether he has anything left on his fastball. Would it be incentives heavy? Would an owner dare put a no kneeling clause in his contract? The possibilities are endless.

Personally, I didn’t have a problem with a peaceful protest in which Kaepernick consulted a Green Beret on how to go about it. I wanted my team to sign him, not because I’m all about social justice, but because I honestly believed his talent far outweighed any off the field criticisms. I wasn’t down with his take on butchers like Castro or Guavara, but I respected his right to feel that way. And I sure as hell wasn’t in agreement with his support of Assata Shakur, a convicted cop killer.

When the anthem protests and resultant backlash began to reach a boiling point, I wrote about how Kaepernick was just a kid who didn’t understand the gravity of the cause he was undertaking. I felt he was skimming his toe in the pool of social progress, rather than diving in. I cringed at the idea that he was being mentioned in the same sentence with names such as King and Ali. His decision to take the NFL money proves I was right to think the way I did. That whole Nike ad campaign about sacrificing everything didn’t include taking over a hundred million dollars in sorry money from the NFL. King didn’t do it that way, and neither did Ali. Kaepernick isn’t a civil rights icon. He’s just a kid with cool hair who may or may not have something left in the tank.

And maybe he’s not who his most fervent supporters thought he was. But he’s also not stupid. Because a hundred million bucks is a hundred million bucks. And he has a right to have any fucking opinion he wants to have, even if I don’t agree with it. And a league full of billionaires who made their bones by taking risks should grow a pair. Talk to him, give him some what’s what. Sign him. Because right now, this whole episode has no winners.

And I hate ties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

89 thoughts on “When Sacrificing Everything Gets You Paid

  1. LOved your post. Let me take you into the office of Kaepernick’s agent for a moment.
    “Hey, Colin. Sit down. Why so upset?”
    Aw, man. I don’t think I’m going to be able to cut it in play this season.”
    “If this is for real we need a plan.”
    “It’s for real.”
    “Hummm. How about a protest. You get on one knee during the National Anthem. Everyone gets pissed. You get fired. We sue and you walk away with 100 Mil.”
    “Will it work?”
    “Still my 15% right?”
    “Right?”
    “I guarantee it.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well said, and you raise many good points.

    I’m with Kap, big money or not. He had guts to take on a sacred cow (the “bombs bursting in air”) and make a brave gesture against cops killing blacks. Maybe there’s naiveté, but who else has had the guts to put himself on the chopping block like this? No one, that I can see. As you said, he’s a kid who is skimming his toe in the social justice waters. He’s far from Ali, light years from MLK, and comments about Castro aren’t going to help him. But even if he doesn’t slay the twin beasts of Trump and the NFL, the settlement at least pierced their ugly hides, and signing with another NFL team, even as a backup, will only twist the knife. At this point in this slop hole of racist, mock-patriotic, corporate America, I’ll take whatever poetic justice I can get.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Green Pete,

      And to this we agree wholeheartedly. And you raise a great point about the flip side. Meaning, what which we disagree on. Why do the disagreements always seem to override the more positive aspects? Why is there no longer a ‘middle ground’?

      You side with Kaep on way more than I do, and that is plenty fine. I don’t judge you in the least, and vice versa. And I, like you, hope that this is not the end of Kaepernick.

      The problem with Kaep is that he made people feel uncomfortable. Because God forbid we talk about all those cases of black people being imprisoned unjustly, or being detained or murdered for no reason. Thank you for pointing this out, because I didn’t even touch on this, even though it was the gist of his protest. Which is why blogging is such a worthwhile and constructive medium. Thank you for that.

      And thank you for the insightful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And the flock says, Amen.

    Here’s the line I really like – “If a league can’t be tarnished for covering up brain injuries, do you really think it’s losing sleep over a national anthem protest?:” Now that spokes volumes!

    To quote Stephen Colbert … Meanwhile …. (I couldn’t resist) … I do want if that big brain injury case is in the future than takes a big bite out of the game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meanwhile …. I think about older white guys wearing the New Balance shoes from Kohl’s, Target, or WalMart who tell me they won’t buy anything Nike because of Kaepernick. Well, I don’t think they know that they aren’t Nike’s target market. Shhhhh … don’t tell them … they will never know – which will be HUGE!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cincy,

      I love watching football but it’s just true! Having read “League of Denial” it brought home the cost/benefit analytics the league grows on. Nothing happens by accident. Every move and non-move has a purpose.

      I hope Kaep gets another shot somewhere. I’ve resigned myself to the fact it probably won’t be in Miami, because Ross is dead set against it. And like I said, Kaep is gonna need to be realistic about what he demands.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really think you’re overstating Kaep’s relevance as a quarterback in the NFL. His last two seasons with the 49ers were horrible. I’m not sure he has what it takes to succeed in the sport as it exists today.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I KNOW his talent was overstated by his camp, but here’s the thing. Brandon Weeden.
          Not to mention dudes like Brock “Hot Garbage” Osweiler getting big contracts for zero results. There are too many backups in the league who you look at and think “Kaep couldn’t do that?”. And maybe he was figured out, as some believe. But Imma give him the benefit of the doubt as per the aging Niners roster and the upheaval of the front office. Plus, I would have just liked to have seen someone TRY to see what, if anything was there. Two years later, maybe it’s a moot point.

          Like

          • Oh, he could probably be a backup somewhere. I’m sure of that, but he has an elevated sense of his talent. His accuracy is pitiful. PITIFUL! There’s no way he can succeed in today’s NFL of dink and dunk passes.

            Liked by 1 person

          • He was a mercurial talent who never worked his game into the latest adaptation. And you’re right about his elevated sense, because I remember there WERE offers proffered to him that he declined.
            I have much appreciation for dudes like Russell Wilson who do not possess the same raw talent but make it work so very well.

            Liked by 1 person

        • You know what sport I cannot watch, do not watch and have not watched this season?
          College basketball.
          It’s full of coaches who walk and talk like used car salesmen in Armani suits. Phonies like Roy Williams whose “Aw shucks” routine is older than the hills. Dude doesn’t give a flip about the future of the kids under his stead, no matter what he says.
          And “March Madness” is a scam. A committee sits in a room and determines seeding. The seeding is not based on wins and losses but rather, the opinions of some suit who sits in a room and says “Yeah, Texas is a number eight,”. So when ‘Number Eight’ Texas beats fake ‘Number Three’ Tennessee, the announcers scream UPSET, even though it was no such thing.
          And please tell me the last time a REAL Cinderella won the tourney? I don’t mean a middling blue blood program that gets hot in March, but a real Cinderella. Butler came the closest, but outside of them . . who?

          Like

          • Yeah, I don’t watch hardly any college basketball and now that the guy who ran our March Madness office bracket doesn’t do it anymore, I have little reason to watch the tourney. College basketball and football are about exploiting kids with dreams to make gazillions for the coaches and the schools. I know people who like college sports better than the NFL or the NBA and I don’t get it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It’s minor league sports is what it is. And the crap these programs get away with is just criminal. In some cases, literally.
            I’m sorry, but when a tax payer funded university is bringing ex convicts onto its campus in the name of winning ballgames, that whole “student athlete” nonsense is unmasked for what it truly is. Bullshit.

            Like

          • It’s the same way across the country. When you think about how Urban Meyer is hired based SOLELY on his ability to win ballgames and then fitted with highest paid state employee in state of players he recruits being criminal risks . . I mean, it would be laughable if it wasn’t so criminally insane.

            At Florida, he presided over a program in which forty one of his players were arrested during his time there. Forty one.

            Of course, his titles made it worth it to the alums. Sick.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hey, it’s the same with Nick. Hell, I think Nick gets even better treatment. No one ever says a peep about this guy. He’s lauded as the inspiration for a movie whilst people talk about him running for political office, and winning.
            Hardware trumps all.
            I dig Northwestern and Stanford. Schools like that. The kids bust it on and off the field. They’ll never win a national title but they are the embodiment of all that is good in an otherwise broken system.

            Like

  4. Have I mentioned how much I hate the NFL?
    That said …
    I have absolutely no problems with Kaepernick’s protests. As I posted on FB a couple of years ago, his actions were far more consistent with what I believe are American principles than the actions of those who objected to him. The flag is a piece of cloth. What it represents is far more important than what it actually is. The National Anthem has nothing to do with “respect for the military.” It is about our country, our people and our principles. If you can’t use our symbols to protest what we do as a country, those symbols are meaningless.

    What really bothered me about all of this is that he did not seek out attention in doing what he was doing. He sat during the Anthem for three post-season games before somebody noticed and it suddenly became a big deal. So, he wasn’t actually doing this to create a ruckus. He was just doing it because of what he believed — and what he believed is something I don’t have a problem with.

    That said …

    Living in Northern California, although I am a Steelers fan, I see all of the goings on of the 49ers. He had a brief moment of brilliance, but his last two seasons with the 49ers were absolutely horrible. If an NFL owner didn’t want to sign him based on on-field performance, they would be justified — particularly if his demands were for starter-level money. But, if an NFL owner was unwilling to sign him because he was exercising his right as an American to make a political statement … well …

    Have I mentioned I hate the NFL?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Mark, can you do me a solid and tell me how you REALLY feel about the NFL?

      Rumor has it that several NFL owners sent out feelers to gauge NBA Boss Adam Silver’s level of interest in changing sports. It was ALL about the money Silver has made his league, whilst navigating social issues more adeptly than the shield has over the years. The NFL is a money machine, and now with legalized gambling, there is no stopping the uptick of their revenue stream into the next decade.

      I totally agree with Kaepernick’s peaceful protest being righteous. His silence in the embryonic stages carried over to this side, and has frustrated those who believe he needed to be their voice. I don’t think he needs to be anything other than what he feels he needs to be. I still don’t think he understood the gravity of his peaceful protest, but that’s no crime. And neither is kneeling for the anthem.

      As a Steelers fan, I imagine you have had your fill of Anthony “Big Chest” Brown, huh? What a parody he has turned this into. Jesus.

      Like

      • The thing about Big Chest, Little Brain is that whoever gets him will be sorely disappointed at the money they shell out for the production they’re going to get. He’s 31 years old. Tell me how many 31 year old WRs continue to produce at superstar level — but he’s going to get superstar money. Did you hear he wants it all guaranteed?

        Your other comment is a part of the reason I can’t stand the NFL and you touched on it in your original post — no amount of controversy seems capable of stopping the NFL money machine. And that is the only thing that matters to the League and the owners. Money, money, money. The entire thing reeks of greed, and nothing more.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, AB has zero self awareness. He doesn’t realize what a dope he looks like. One minute he’s telling teams to blow up his phone and the next minute he’s making nice with Rooney. And who knows what he’ll do today . . .

          He lost me when he was live streaming in the locker room last year. He’s a caricature. Great talent, whose best years are in the rear view. His talent is worth a first round pick in trade, but his mindset is fourth round return. If he had a professional outlook, with that talent, I wouldn’t blame a team for investing a first rounder on someone who could help them for the next four to five years, which is the rookie contract anyway.

          And don’t forget, Mark. The NFL now has the added value of legalized gambling to sustain any possible scandals that come down the pike from here. It never ends.

          Like

          • Just kill me now with the gambling angle.

            The Steelers lost a top 5 RB and top 5 WR because they refused to buckle to stupid athletes. Not many teams are willing to do that. Good for them, but it’s gonna make the next few years a struggle.

            Liked by 1 person

          • And good for them for not buckling. I truly don’t understand either of these players stances. I mean, Brown wants to go play in San Fran, with a QB who hasn’t even logged a full season in his entire career yet! And what if they send him off to Arizona? Does he expect he’s going to get the same numbers? And then what? He starts moping again?

            As for Bell, he took out an insurance policy before last season to cover him in the event of an injury. And then he doesn’t play. Makes no sense.

            The Steelers will probably draft a WR early RB’s can be had later in the draft, and while he likely won’t be Bell, the team can get production if Ben stays healthy.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. B,

    I feel inadequate commenting on such a post because some of this stuff goes way over my head (might be ‘coz I don’t shive a git but at the same time, the amount of money involved makes me cringe) “…settlement shakes out to where each owner will pay out about a million and a half bucks a year. That’s sofa cushion money…” That says so much right there…

    And: “If a league can’t be tarnished for covering up brain injuries, do you really think it’s losing sleep over a national anthem protest?” – hell to the know. They have their priorities straight, man… Whatsammater? Don’t you agree these are very honourable practices? No? Yeah, me neither.

    Maybe Kaep is worth something, maybe he’s not. If he does get a chance to prove himself, I hope he does.

    All I can say, as someone who knows diddly-squat about this world of sports you follow and share your thoughts about, is that every time I read one of these posts, my horizons broaden just a tad more…

    Q

    Liked by 1 person

    • Qtie,

      To that first sentence? . . .😎

      Yeah, that settlement with Kaep makes me bristle, only as far as the idea that we might never know the smoking guns. Do I believe all the owners got together and said don’t sign him? Not at all. Owners do what’s best for them. But I do believe, based on the fact there was a gag order attached, that some rather sensitive information will never see the light of day.

      I don’t blame Kaep for taking the money, especially considering he very well missed out on that pay day for his on the field exploits. But still, as a fan and as a person who’s followed this case, I want to know.

      Damn, I gotta break this reply to you up. My OCD gets the best of me and I see all white. It’s white out! Like my drive way right now . . .

      I’ll be Bach with Part Deuce.

      Liked by 1 person

    • When I read the book “League of Denial”, it made me extremely uncomfortable. Which was the point. Because it spoke of a league that makes its decisions based on the bottom line.

      Imma give you an excerpt (my words, not verbatim) of what happens to some of these players when they’re done playing. Mike Webster who played for the Steelers ended up homeless. He left his family, left everything. Lived in a pickup truck. His brain was so damaged, he found it impossible to fall asleep so he would use a stun gun on himself to fall asleep for a few hours. The league looked the other way. Until they were forced to look at cases such as these for what they were. A result of players with head trauma not being taken care of during or after their playing days.

      Okay, one more reply. I have to break yours up. Not complaining, I rather like the kitsch we make. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am rather glad that such a book would make you uncomfortable. I think we need to feel more discomfort – not that things will change any time soon.

        That movie with Will Smith “Concussion” made me extremely uncomfortable – and it starts with Mike Webster’s story…

        I like our kitsch too 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I do believe that. I think it’s important to be uncomfortable with certain issues. Hell, look at politics. I think we are in this mess because everybody avoids it. No one wants to talk politics why? Because it’s uncomfortable. But you know what happens when we don’t tend to discussion? We lose track. We let things go. We get what we have.

          The book is even more graphic. My God. That man and his family, they went through a living hell. And he went through all that before and after playing for a GREAT organization in the Steelers. So you can imagine how bad this is/was across the league.

          Love the kitsch. We’re a natural!

          Liked by 1 person

          • It is very important to be uncomfortable and avoid become complacent about such grave issues. And yes. Look at politics. I am guilty of avoiding talking about politics with so many people – because they just don’t want to have intelligent discussions. We absolutely do get what we have!

            Oh man – even more graphic? The movie traumatized me with the attitude taken. It was always a violent sport but now? It’s like in hockey – the bigger the pads, the harder the hits can be. It’s a double-edged sword…

            We are kitsch squared!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think its incumbent on people to be politically involved. You don’t have to be a policy wonk, and you certainly do not have to engage in conversations with peeps who can’t be charming and reasonable (like us!). But if you have a say, you should have a clue.

            Oh it was awful. Webster would duct tape the cracks his feet because they bled that much. He super glued his teeth back in. He couldn’t even put on a jacket.

            And the saddest part of this excruciatingly sad episode? A former NFL player named Merrill Hoge came out with a book in which he refuted ALL of the claims made in this book. He said it was ‘bad science’. (Where have we heard that argument before?).

            Bad science is why several NFL players have killed themselves. Bad science is why players such as Jim McMahon are fifty something year olds in ninety year old bodies. Bad science? Kiss my ass with that shit.

            Kitsch squared? I dig.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Could not agree more! You definitely have to pay attention to what’s going on around you before you put your mouth to work! And yes, conversations can be lively yet still maintain respect for each other… we are aren’t we? 🙂

            Such a horrible way to live. That poor guy.

            Bad science, my ass. Where indeed?

            Bad science is why I sometimes look at professional sports and wonder why – no, I know why. The $$$ is too good – they put their lives at risk…

            ‘course you dig…

            Liked by 1 person

          • WE are. Certain of our peeps and most of our reader chums are. But of the larger circle, nah. I keep away. Because it’s NOT a debate. It’s an argument. And I don’t have the patience, even in my more mellow iteration, to restrain myself from punching someone in the face, LOL.

            Yes, and that was the whole point. To have the risks out there for consumption. As with big tobacco. Let everyone know this shit can kill you, or at the very least leave you with lots of issues down the road. The league was making money hand over fist whilst doing nothing to inform its players of the risks inherent. To say nothing of medical care, or having their backs once their playing days were over. That is unforgivable.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh hell no. I have much better things to do with my time than waste it with those who can only argue (read: insist their view is the only view). I find myself backing away slowly, and disappearing from that circle.

            Yep. Totally unforgivable.

            Liked by 1 person

    • I still dream of him in Miami. With an offensive coach that can get something out of him. My football fantasy is for Kaep to re-invent himself there and prove all the doubters wrong. And for Miami to finally be the team that got it right, for once!

      It will never happen. LOL.

      Well thank you. That is really cool. And you’re one smart cookie, so ain’t no thing for you. I’ve bored you with these rants on the phone, so I’m sure this is old hat for ya. 😉

      B

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d prefer seeing Kap play over the various NFL wife beaters. Always wished him well and hope he can get on with his life whatever he decides to do. And I hope he got a HUGE payout from the evil league. Serves them right though it’s the fans that ultimately pay the bills with higher tix prices and $8 crap beers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen sister.
      That was my thing. The Redskins sign Ruben Foster, serial woman beater, and it’s a seen as a good football move for chrissakes. And yet, Kaep takes a knee in peaceful protest and the Instant Oatmeal Patriots scream and yell.

      I was telling Dale that I dream of a scenario where he ends up in Miami. But it’ll never happen, because the owner doesn’t have the cojones to stand up to the Cuban population that ain’t down with his thoughts on Fidel. I’m like, the hell with that! What about the ticket buying population that has been treated to a team whose average record over the last ten years is 8-8! Don’t they count?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post! So many people get lost in the kneeling but there are so many sides to this story, many that most people don’t want to think about, let alone address in a rationale manner. We can go on and on about the NFL, their shortcomings, their hypocrisy and their lack on concern notably for the players but the fans, as well. Let’s not get started on social issues, which they seem to ignore in a marketable way. I’m so close to choosing to do something else on Sundays. I just have to find a way to see those damn season tickets that I’ve had for forty years and the @#$%^& PSL’s that came as a package. If I knew then……….

    Liked by 2 people

    • George,

      Kaep consulted a Green Beret when he was contemplating this whole thing. And then he started kneeling. Funny thing is, no one paid much mind to it initially. And then it just hit and the circus ensued. Personally, I stand and put my hand over my heart for the national anthem. But I can’t and won’t deny someone their right to do as they see fit. It is, after all, what our democracy is supposed to be about.

      Holy smokes! Good luck with that one! Goodell called those PSL’s “good investments” for the fans . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you. I don’t agree with his decision and I would never do it but his right to burn the flag, as they did in the 60’s or kneel for a cause is what this country was founded on. You can’t have it both ways and say you’re an American.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly! Democracy lends itself to protest, to challenges and debate. It’s what is SUPPOSED to set it apart. Those “Instant Oatmeal Patriots” (my term) who get all hot and bothered over this should read up on their history.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Players have enough money to start their own league… why would you want to play for a league that is so brutal to your body.. and basketball and baseball players get paid more than you with less punishment to there body.. I question the players of the league that accepts this… as well as the owners who reap the benefits

    Liked by 1 person

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