The Feb. 7 Super Bowl is shaping up as a tale of two great quarterbacks: Kansas City’s young gunslinger Patrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay’s old G.O.A.T. Tom Brady. Great as their legacies are, neither can compare to the one preferred by The New York Times writer Kurt Streeter – Colin Kaepernick. Yes, sad to say, Kaepernick’s notorious, undeserving name is snaking its way into media discussions about Super Bowl LV.
Kaepernick hasn’t played in an NFL game for more than four years. His mediocre career is over and done with, but the NYT’s Kurt Streeter is still an obsessive fanboy. Years from now when historians assess the connection between pro sports and the state of the world in the current era, it won’t be Brady or Mahomes who jar the left-stream media’s memory bank. Nope. Kaepernick will loom largest, Streeter predicts.:
“I’ll bet on Kaepernick, once among the league’s most electric players, censured and shut out of the game since 2016. Kaepernick, whose kneeling protest during the national anthem tore at the heart of the one sport that most embodies America and its myths.
“Kaepernick, loved and loathed, celebrated as a champion for justice and denounced by politicians looking to hype racial resentment, no matter the costs.
“He has not just been at the center of the storm. At times he has been the storm. All of the other quarterbacks are throwing their beautiful spirals while watching safely from afar — careers well intact.”
As the Super Bowl draws near, Streeter demands we not lose sight of Kaepernick’s protest and his challenge to “America’s racial caste system.” This supposed titan carried the “profound weight of truth.”
Fans, NFL team owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the players – many of whom “have dropped their guard and allowed the message to be watered down” – all need to remember Kaepernick, Streeter says.
With an underwater career record of 28-30 as an NFL starter, Kaepernick isn’t deserving of a lofty legacy for what he did on the field. According to Streeter, though, he was practically a genius off the field.:
“We’ve just endured a presidential term of brazen demagogy from a man many N.F.L. owners have considered a great leader and friend. We’ve seen the rise of white supremacy. The stream of police shootings. The killing of George Floyd. Protests, the coronavirus pandemic and the deadly storming of the Capitol.
“Kaepernick’s critique of America foretold it all.”
The shadow of a man known for kneeling still hangs over the NFL, which prefers to “slice him from collective memory” and move on, Streeter groans.
To gain support for his Kaepernick puff piece, Streeter spoke last week with Derrick White, a professor of African American studies at the University of Kentucky and an expert on race and football. White said: “There is nothing more humbling for the billionaires who own N.F.L. teams than to be proven wrong, especially by a Black athlete who is seen as a thorn in their side.”
Streeter gives a sarcastic nod to the czars of football who’ve neutralized Kaepernick’s indictment of an oppressive America. Football is too conservative and too connected to the police, the military and the flag. Even social justice messages on football helmets and in the end zones are pithy, he charges.
The phrase “It Takes All of Us” doesn’t include Kaepernick. Of the “End Racism” phrase, Streeter begs we “Stop with the Orwellian hypocrisy.”
Streeter laments the forgetting of Kaepernick’s “magnetic talent,” wasted in his final season by a 49ers team with little talent and poor coaching. NYT readers are implored to recall Kaepernick’s greatness on YouTube.
Who will remember Kaepernick, give him his due and keep telling the story, Streeter asks? Who will keep his insidious movement front and center, raw and real? It’s a shame his reputation is being disrespected because saying “Kap was right” is not as difficult for the NYT as saying as Brady and Mahomes are great.