In the world of professional football, sometimes the pursuit of a dream is an exercise in persistence, even when the odds seem insurmountable. Such is the case with Colin Kaepernick, whose agent recently reached out to the New York Jets following Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles injury on Monday Night Football. The outcome might have been predictable, but Kaepernick’s quest to return to the NFL is a story of resilience, justice, and the power of standing up for what you believe in.
Kaepernick, a talented quarterback, hasn’t set foot on an NFL field since January 1, 2017. And it’s not because of a lack of skill or a waning interest in the game. We all remember why he took a knee during the national anthem—a peaceful protest against racial injustice and police brutality. His actions sent ripples across the league, sparking a national debate on the intersection of sports and social issues. But despite the noise and controversy that surrounded him, Kaepernick’s message was clear, principled, and deeply rooted in a desire for justice.
Fast forward to today, and Kaepernick’s absence from the NFL continues to raise questions about the league’s commitment to change. While a settlement was reached with Kaepernick and Eric Reid, the core issue remains—acknowledgment and atonement. The call for an apology, a simple acknowledgment of the reasons behind Kaepernick’s protest, still echoes in the minds of many.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did offer a belated admission of the league’s failure to understand Kaepernick’s message sooner. “I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” he said in 2020. It was an acknowledgment that the league had missed an opportunity for dialogue and understanding.
However, the question remains whether Kaepernick will ever get the chance to step back onto the field. Recent outreach to the New York Jets may have seemed like a long shot, especially given the tumultuous history surrounding the quarterback and the team’s owner, Woody Johnson.
Woody Johnson’s tenure as an NFL owner has been marked by controversy, both on and off the field. From questionable attempts to “connect with the urban audience” to allegations of racist and sexist comments during his time as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Johnson has faced scrutiny.
In 2020, during his diplomatic service, Johnson was investigated by the State Department following allegations of offensive remarks and potential misuse of his position for personal gain. These allegations included racist generalizations about Black men and insensitive comments about women’s appearances. Johnson vehemently denied these accusations.
However, recent events, such as Jim Trotter’s racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the NFL, have cast a shadow over these denials and raised further questions about Johnson’s conduct. Trotter’s lawsuit has brought to light disturbing allegations, shedding new light on the long-standing concerns about Johnson’s behavior.
In this context, it’s clear why the idea of Colin Kaepernick being signed by a team owned by Woody Johnson seems unlikely. The NFL has a complex history of addressing racial and social justice issues, and the Kaepernick saga serves as a stark reminder of the work that remains.
Seven seasons have passed since Kaepernick last graced an NFL field. While some have lost hope in his return, others still hold out for a chance at redemption. In the unpredictable world of professional sports, stranger things have happened. But even in a league where unexpected twists occur, the prospect of Kaepernick being signed by an owner like Woody Johnson appears to be a distant dream.
Kaepernick’s journey is a testament to the resilience of individuals who stand up for their principles. It’s a reminder that the fight for justice and equality is ongoing, and that even when the odds are stacked against you, the pursuit of a dream can serve as a powerful catalyst for change. While his return to the NFL remains uncertain, Colin Kaepernick’s impact on the world of sports and social justice endures as a symbol of unwavering commitment to a cause greater than oneself.