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Tell The Truth, Roger! Why is Kaepernick Blackballed in the NFL?

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Roger Goodell has been called out again. Not one, but two reporters asked Goodell to tell the truth about why Colin Kaepernick was blackballed from the NFL franchise.

While addressing media ahead of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Roger was asked by two reporters why the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback had his career drastically cut short. Despite the seriousness and complexity of the questions, Roger came back with superficial, well rehearsed responses.

The Kaepernick Effect

The first reporter to attempted to center Colin Kaepernick’s battle for recognition and employment within the NFL by asking Goodell the following:

“When you think about the stain on the NFL shield, which is reflected by artists not wanting to associate with the NFL, the halftime show, and things of that nature. What can you do to reverse that sentiment?”

Roger Goodell kept his response about the entertainment. He noted the franchise, wholly, was “pleased with the diversity, quality, and excitement surrounding our entertainers”. Entertainers? People can’t even name all the members of Maroon 5.

Refusing to comment explicitly on Kaepernick at the time, the inquiring reporter nudged Goodell again.

Can you please acknowledge that there is a segment of people that don't want to be associated because of the Kaepernick situation? Click To Tweet

Recognizing the journalist by name and visibly uncomfortable, Goodell answered.

“Jared, just to be clear for something — We have close to 200 million fans, as I’ve talked to you before. We know that there are segments that are going to have different reactions to different things that go on in our league. Ultimately, I think people respect and admire the things we do and want to be part of it.”

Friendly reminder: You can abuse women and still play in the NFL, but you better not take a knee #ImWithKap Click To Tweet

Clown for a King

Roger Goodell has served as the NFL commissioner since 2006. He stood by silently during Spygate and Deflategate as the Patriots used disingenuous practices to reach victory. When evidence surrounding the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) surfaced, he worked quickly to pay off injured players with long-term damage. Now, during his tenure, he has been asked how history might reflect on the league knowing they stand, yet again, on the wrong side.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports asked Roger Goodell a question that further defines the lack of leadership and reason within the league.

“As you noted at the beginning of your comments, we are here in Atlanta, one of the hallmark cities of the civil rights movements where so many Americans, at various points in time, stood up for what they believe in. There’s a segment of this society, now, that believes Colin Kaepernick took some similar actions and we are now 2 years, I guess, removed from him being in the NFL.”

Are you comfortable, collectively, with how the league has responded to that and do you have any concerns how history might look upon them? Click To Tweet

The Opposite of Progress is…

Centered in one of the many hubs of the civil rights movement, rooted in the spirit of protest, the NFL is hosting its most notable event. The NFL is simultaneously preventing progress by refusing to allow the racial injustices experienced by the largest racial demographic of the organization’s players to be discussed via silent, peaceful protest. In response to such a poignant question, Goodell had this to say:

“Our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players that they wanna have on their roster. They make that individually. They make that in the best interests of their team and that’s something that we, as the NFL, take pride in. Individual clubs make decisions that maybe another club won’t do, and they all want to win. They’re all going to do whatever it takes to win. From our standpoint, that’s our focus and that’s going to continue to be our focus.”

I guess the desire to win is why each team in the NFL organization voted unanimously that national anthem protests are grounds for punishment.

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With Integrity, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid Settle NFL Collusion Case

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Colin Kaepernick Eric Reid

Without folding to the organization’s superiors, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have emerged victorious, proving you can maintain your integrity and still be successful.

Just two days after Steve Harvey “coached” Mo’Nique on the benefits of placating industry elites and putting integrity aside for money, Colin Kaepernick’s attorney made an unexpected announcement. The athlete-turned-activist has settled his suit against the NFL over collusion to keep him out of the league.

Answering Injustice with Justice

Following National Anthem protests to bring awareness to injustices that oppress Black people and other people of color, the NFL punished Kaepernick. The league left him unsigned through the off-season and through 2017 training camps. This led to speculation that his departure from the league would be permanent and was caused by being blackballed.

In 2017, Eric Reid filed a grievance letter with the NFL. The letter alleged that under the influence of Donald Trump, the league conspired to prevent further employment opportunities because Reid was the second person to participate in National Anthem protests. Kaepernick and Reid shared the same legal representation during their similar cases. However, Reid remained employed and suffered several mandatory drug tests with 7 occurring during the 2018 season alone.

Nearly two-and-a-half years removed from the initial incident, Kaepernick and Reid’s agreement with the NFL has been reached, but with certain terms. In a joint statement issued by their legal representation, both Kaepernick and Reid are subject to a confidentiality agreement which demands no further comment on the issue.

As of now, no one knows the amount either of the former teammates has been paid to settle their dispute. However, sports experts are speculating Kaepernick was paid within the range of $60 to $80 million for lost wages. Regarding what he will do with his earnings, Kaepernick has been committed to activism across the country. His Million Dollar Pledge has concluded, but the athlete remains invested in the Know Your Rights Camp, which he founded in 2016. The free campaign was established to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and proper law enforcement interaction in various scenarios.

Now that Kaepernick and Reid have settled their dispute, do you think Kaepernick should return to football? Or should he remain focused on activism and philanthropy?

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Dapper Dan Meets With Gucci, Develops Inclusion Action Plan

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Dapper Dan Gucci Blackface

Following the celebrity supported Gucci boycott, Dapper Dan met with the brand to discuss diversity, inclusion, and accountability. Their meeting concluded, the cultural icon of hip-hop fashion design plans to hold all fashion houses accountable for diversity and inclusivity within their respective brands.

Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day, along with a team of experts, approached Gucci with demands that the fashion house acts in the best interest of underrepresented groups. Comprised of ninety percent people of color, the team of corporate experts sat down with Gucci executives to develop a long-term action plan to make amends for a racially-insensitive balaclava design.

The $890 sweater featured a balaclava that, when extended, covered the wearer and mimicked blackface. Causing an immediate social media uproar, Gucci removed the sweater and acknowledged their mistake. Dapper Dan, who frequently used the brands imagery while establishing himself as a hip-hop couturier, was taken aback.

No Excuses

In 2017, recognition from Jay-Z and Black Twitter earned Dap a partnership with the luxury clothier. Dapper Dan partnered with Gucci’s CEO and creative director to develop a line of men’s wear. Ultimately, this resulted in a new atelier which opened in Harlem in 2018, making Dapper Dan of Harlem the first luxury fashion house in the Manhattan neighborhood. Still, this history of partnership and accomplishment did not muddy Dan’s feelings about Gucci’s despicable error.

Pledging to hold the brand accountable for their error, Dapper Dan and the corporate elite met with Gucci and discussed how the brand planned to atone for their cultural ignorance. Upon news of his meeting, celebrities who were participating in the boycott took to social media to share their discontentment. This prompted Dapper Dan to release a statement in defense of his meeting. He checked the culture on their disposal of Black fashion brands along with acknowledging the lack of opportunity for aspiring designers.

We have to LEARN TO EARN. What happened to all the Black fashion brands that failed since the ’80s? Was it because they didn’t get Black support, or was it because they didn’t know the business? Do you expect our young Black designers to spend 30+ years mastering fashion by teaching themselves as I did? How do you expect them to compete with the big brands if they don’t REALLY know the business? They need jobs and internships within these big brands so that they can learn and then branch out on their own.

We Must Hold Everyone Accountable

Addressing the opposition, Dapper Dan remarked that those who wanted to continue to boycott were free to do as they pleased. Before ending his statement, he added, “if anyone should be boycotted, it’s the brands that won’t give our young people an opportunity to learn. In an additional Instagram post featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Jay-Z, Dapper Dan called out artists who purchased clothes on credit and then never patronized his business again once they achieved fame. Both the athlete and rapper-turned-business-mogul were integral in Dan’s reestablishment process after other luxury brands robbed him of his designs.

Insisting we must not only hold the brands accountable, but we must have a plan of action to amend the mistake and move forward, Dapper Dan invited Gucci to join the 21st century with new diversity and inclusivity policies. Their meeting, facilitated by a round-table of nearly ninety percent people of color, birthed an action plan for immediate implementation. Following the conclusion of their meeting, Gucci released a statement apologizing and outlining their long-term action plan to address culture and diversity awareness in the company.

Mediation, Resolution, Progress

Several key points of their intended plan include the creation of several jobs for global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion, a global learning program for diversity and inclusivity awareness, and a global exchange program. The company is also committing to a multi-cultural design scholarship. The 12-month fast track program, which partners with fashion schools, will amplify opportunities to underrepresented groups which will lead to full-time employment. Schools of focus for the scholarship are in New York (Harlem), Nairobi, New Delhi, Beijing, Hangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo, Beirut, London, and Dubai.

These immediate actions were developed with Dapper Dan, expert industry leaders, and Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s current President and CEO. While many hold the ideology that you should not applaud a fish for swimming, it is important to remember that Gucci’s efforts are far above and beyond other companies, i.e. H&M.

Following H&M’s disastrous “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” debacle, the company hired just two diversity leaders for their Global and North American markets and issued a public apology. The company has been unable to recover from their mistake which caused The Weeknd and G-Eazy to reject collaboration opportunities. One-year removed from their failure, H&M has recently announced 160 store closings worldwide.

Given Gucci’s response to their racist design and proposals for improvement, will you continue to boycott?

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Dear Steve Harvey

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