Colin Kaepernick has not played in the NFL for three seasons.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith let it be known: it’s time to focus on the game of football.
Appearing on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning with hosts Peter Rosenberg, Laura Stylez and Ebro Darden, Smith reveals a conversation that he had with Nessa Diab, girlfriend of the embattled quarterback who is also a radio host at WQHT in Manhattan.
According to Smith, a photographer connected Diab to Smith while Smith was making press runs promoting HBCU Week at Hot 97.
“A young brotha, I apologize for forgetting his name, a young brotha that works with her that was waiting outside,” Smith said.
“He’s one of the nicest guys in the world and I can’t say enough about how classy he was in approaching me and letting me know: ‘man we got a problem with you, we really didn’t like x,y and z.’ And I had to correct him on a couple of things and said: ‘I didn’t say that. I said the NFL said that because that was my report. I’m talking to owners, I’m talking to officials in the NFL Players Association. I’m telling you what they said. Now you might have seen me one time come out of mouth and say something, but it might have been after I echoed that I got it from the NFL and the Players Association fifteen different times. Damn, I’ve got to regurgitate the sentence every time? I’m not going to do that.’But in the process of us talking, he was like: ‘well you said something about our sister Nessa [Diab] and she’s right there and she was sitting right in this studio, hoping that I came in.”
It was there that Smith says the two worked out a disagreement. “So I came in there and I spoke to her,” he said.
“And she was making the case of what she thought I was wrong about [concerning] Colin Kaepernick. I brought up Miami, Baltimore, Seattle, Denver. She said he had never been offered those jobs. I said: ‘Well you got a problem because that’s what they’re saying. They’re saying they did offer him a job, they were giving him the opportunity, but he was hellbent on maintaining his position in terms of kneeling and stuff like that and they didn’t want to deal with it. So we had a very healthy discussion. She was incredibly classy and very respectful. What I would say and what I had to correct them on is I never felt that I attacked her. What I did was say: ‘Look, you go and put out a tweet and you’re comparing the owner of the Baltimore Ravens along with Ray Lewis, a Hall of Fame linebacker that played for them and you’re comparing them to the characters of Django. Samuel Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters in Django? That don’t help! You see what I’m saying? It doesn’t matter how right you are in whatever you elect to do. In this particular situation, the President got involved, he hijacked the narrative for his own political gain. We know he did all of that, okay? So with all of that going on, now it’s not about right or wrong. It’s about the fight that you’re fighting and whether you’re focused on winning. How do you get what you want? The objective was to bring attention to racial oppression, racial inequality, brutality on the part of police officers. Well, you’ve succeeded. You had the players coalition that got involved, you’ve got the NFL owners that got involved. You’ve got the public; millions upon millions of people that stood behind you, we know you’re a bad brotha! We saw what you could do, etc. etc. All of these things happened. So you’ve succeeded in bringing attention, which you said was your goal. Now that you’ve done that: what about football?”
Three NFL preseasons ago, Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL network’s Steve Wyche during the NFL’s preseason three years ago.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick would later kneel instead of deciding to not participate during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games.
His refusal triggered other athletes like Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, NBA free agent, Carmelo Anthony and recently retired Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade to join their WNBA counterparts in becoming vocal about police brutality of minorities.