Sports

The Kaepernick conundrum: Time to cut Marshawn Lynch, silence LeBron James?

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to the team’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.
Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to the team’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday. AP

I’m waiting.

At what point will Marshawn Lynch be cut by the Oakland Raiders? It is going to happen, right?

After all, he did not stand for the national anthem ahead of the team’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.

That justifies a pink slip, doesn’t it?

If not, we should all be prepared for massive boycotts. At least that’s the narrative that’s out there.

In many minds, Lynch has now paired up with the poison that is Colin Kaepernick, a man who knelt during the national anthem last season and became a villain to many for doing it. As of right now, he does not have an NFL job.

By kneeling, he enacted his rights and stood up against what he believed to be racially-based police brutality in our country. Now many of you believe he should not be on an NFL roster. As I’ve written before, I disagree with that notion. I also think there are many other monsters employed by the league who are more worthy of the #BoycottNFL movement.

But now, two stand (or rather kneel) together.

I doubt it stops there. As brave (or brazen, however you view it) as it was for Kaepernick to protest in the first place, Lynch joining in is also risky business. At the same time, I believe it opens the door for others to get in on the movement.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. Then what?

People won’t boycott a handful of players, will they? Or perhaps the whole league?

I doubt it.

Rather, a movement from another angle has gained some momentum.

Comedian DL Hughley recently called for a boycott in solidarity with Kaepernick. Also, filmmaker Spike Lee and former NFL player Shaun King – and countless others – have joined the fight.

So, let’s go over the most common talking points of the anti-Kaepernick movement and see if it makes sense.

He disrespected veterans: I have disputed this, arguing that our military fights to protect our free speech. Therefore, they were fighting for his right to protest.

He protested in the workplace: On the surface, it seems like a fair point. However, several NBA players – including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose – wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during pregame warmups in 2014 to protest the death of Eric Garner, who died while in a chokehold by an arresting officer in New York. None of those players lost their jobs and the league itself didn’t seem to take any major hits as it is soaring in money these days. Earlier that year, NBA players – mainly the Los Angeles Clippers – wore their warmup shirts inside-out in protest of their owner, Donald Sterling, who in the past had allegedly used racial slurs that surfaced in audio recordings. Again, no major push back ensued.

He simply isn’t good enough to be worth the burden: It would be easy to point out all of the employed quarterbacks who are not as good as Kaepernick, a 29-year-old who once led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl and had a 16-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season. There’s plenty debate as to whether he is good enough to be a starter in the league, but there’s no doubt he’s good enough to be a backup. But a backup isn’t worth all of the negative publicity you might say? Well, Jarrett Jack was a backup point guard with the Brooklyn Nets when joining other players in the “I Can’t Breathe Protest.” He didn’t lose his job.

Players should stay out of politics: First off, this is stupid. Athletes are human beings just like us and therefore are entitled to their opinions in any arena. For instance, James tweeted what appeared to be anti-President Donald Trump rhetoric on Saturday in relation to the ugly scene that took place during the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Again, he has every right to share his thoughts. However, I think this even trumps the “not protesting in the workplace” argument, as folks considered public figures – including someone like James or anyone working at The Sun News, for that matter – are held accountable for their actions even when outside of work. Despite the tweet, I believe James’ job is safe.

However it’s done, you can’t get away from it. If you express political views, there’s going to be those in favor of what you say and those who are not. Trust me, I know.

That’s why this all needs to stop. If you’re really going to boycott – something that I think many will fail to even go through with if Kaepernick was ever signed – be sure that what you’re against is truly worth it.

What “Kap” has done is not as extreme as it’s been made out to be.

If you’re going to boycott him, I would hope you’ll also boycott Lynch and the Raiders now. You should have already been in protest of the NBA.

You can’t go halfway in on this one; you’ve got to go all in.

Prove that you actually stand for something. Or else, you’re just a hypocrite.

It may be ironic, but you boycotters need to be more like Kaepernick.

On tap

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans hit the road all week as they take on Winston-Salem Monday (7 p.m.), Tuesday (5 p.m. doubleheader), Wednesday (7 p.m.) and Thursday (7 p.m.) before playing a three-game set at Wilmington from Friday through Sunday (7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1:35 p.m. Sunday). … The Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team begins the regular season with a game at Wofford on Friday (7 p.m.) and match at College of Charleston on Sunday (6:30 p.m.). … Some area high school football teams begin their seasons as Week 0 commences Friday. Aynor (vs. Marion), Georgetown (vs. Conway), Green Sea Floyds (vs. East Columbus, N.C.), Socastee (vs. West Brunswick, N.C.), St. James (vs. Loris) and Waccamaw (vs. Andrews) each start at home, while Carvers Bay (at Marlboro County), Myrtle Beach (at Byrnes on Thursday) and North Myrtle Beach (at Timberland) start on the road. … The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. … The PGA Tour heads to Greensboro, North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship from Thursday through Sunday. … In tennis, both the men and women begin play in the ATP & WTA Western & Southern Open.

David Wetzel: 843-626-0295, @MYBSports

  Comments