The fury surrounding the employment status of Colin Kaepernick has been taken to a new level, reaching full-blown froth on Wednesday night in the form of a rally at NFL headquarters attended by thousands to protest Kaepernick being unsigned by a team.
Kaepernick has been unemployed ever since his decision to opt out of his contract with the 49ers this offseason, although he was headed in that direction regardless, with the 49ers admitting they planned to release him anyway.
There has been outrage ever since any time another quarterback landed a job. People were not thrilled with EJ Manuel signing in Oakland, everyone was miffed about Blaine Gabbert getting a job in Arizona over Kap and people were downright apoplectic about Austin Davis signing with Seahawks.
The anger has mostly been a #madonline issue heretofore, though. On Wednesday, not long after the NAACP demanded a meeting with the NFL about Kaepernick's job status, it took the form of more than 1,000 people actively gathering their physical forms in front of the NFL league office.
Over 1,000 people gathered outside the NFL, accusing the league of blackballing Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem: pic.twitter.com/HHNrq3xL26— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 24, 2017
This included actress Susan Sarandon, who notes in her Twitter profile she is also an activist. She was activating (activisting?) on Wednesday:
Rally in support of Colin Kaepernick in front of @NFL. Together we win. I stand with Colin. #ImWithKap pic.twitter.com/lRCa1UWpa7— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) August 23, 2017
Some of the folks who showed up even brought shirts that, regardless of which side you come down on here, are pretty well designed.
The @NAACP is passing out these Colin Kaepernick shirts at the #UnitedWeStand rally pic.twitter.com/rzboVoVM9n— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 23, 2017
Many of the people there wore Kaepernick jerseys in support of the quarterback.
Kappa Alpha Psi is out here in full force supporting Colin Kaepernick --their fraternity brother. -#KaepRally pic.twitter.com/ZTngiMQOzn— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 23, 2017
#KaepRally chant "#NFL, What the Hell ?" pic.twitter.com/t4b9rr6GUJ— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 23, 2017
According to Tim Rohan of TheMMQB.com, the group of activists who organized the rally -- The People's Consortium for Human and Civil Rights, led by president Reverend Stephen Green -- had three demands of the NFL.
1. That the NFL institute a policy to protect players' rights to have freedom of speech, so they can kneel, raise a fist or express opinions on social issues, if they wish.
2. That the NFL establish a review board to, Green says, "examine issues of social injustice." As Tamika Mallory, a social activist and co-organizer of the 2017 Women's March, put it in her speech, "The NFL, just like the NYPD, cannot police itself. Any organization that is only being looked at from within is a failing organization. There must be a unit of people internally and externally that look at racial and cultural sensitivity issues within the NFL."
3. And that the NFL develop some sort of program to "reinvest into the communities in which they serve, where there are high rates of unemployment, high rates of mass incarceration. To re-invest those funds into the community," Green says.
Typically speaking, the noise surrounding an issue like this dies out once the games start being played. But this is not a typical situation: Kap doesn't have a job, which means with each week that passes and each horrific quarterback performance that we watch unfold, the noise could get louder.
This is hardly the last thing we have heard about concerns over Kaepernick's employment as the 2017 season nears.