We’ve heard enough from players and coaches to know Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem is not super-duper popular in the NFL. A new story from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman suggests that the league’s front-office types basically think Kaepernick murdered someone.
Freeman spoke to seven team executives, none of whom is identified by name. We don’t know, then, whether any of these folks are in position to wield the axes they’re grinding. What we do know is that all seven really, really hate Colin Kaepernick. “Each executive said he believes Kaepernick will likely get released by the 49ers—and never play in the NFL again,” Freeman writes. One exec calls the 49ers quarterback “a traitor.” Another says, “F–k that guy.” (Dashes in the original story.) Here are words of wisdom from a third:
One executive said he hasn’t seen this much collective dislike among front office members regarding a player since Rae Carruth. Remember Rae Carruth? He’s still in prison for the plot to murder his pregnant girlfriend.
Three points here:
(1) Hit men hired by Carruth killed the football player’s girlfriend Cherica Adams in 1999. Adams’ unborn child survived—Thomas Lake wrote a profile of Chancellor Lee Adams, “The Boy They Couldn’t Kill,” for Sports Illustrated in 2012. Carruth is expected to be released from prison in 2018, at which point he will be 44 years old. Freeman’s reporting indicates he will not be signed by an NFL team when he gets out.
(2) Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015, and he’s been indicted for a separate double homicide. How many people does Hernandez have to kill to generate as much “collective dislike” as Colin Kaepernick?
(3) Other NFL players who are not as “collectively disliked” as the guy who sat out the anthem to protest how black people are treated in the United States: Ray Lewis (pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice after a double murder), Ben Roethlisberger (twice accused of sexual assault, never criminally charged), Ray Rice (beat up his then-fiancée), Greg Hardy (beat up his ex-girlfriend), Adrian Peterson (beat his 4-year-old son).
(4) The NFL recently suspended New York Giants kicker Josh Brown for one game on account of a 2015 domestic violence arrest. Giants president John Mara re-signed Brown this April despite knowing about that arrest. According to the New York Daily News:
By Mara’s admission, the Giants not only knew about Brown’s 2015 domestic violence arrest, they also were aware of the related incident report, revealed by the Daily News last Thursday. In it, Molly Brown told police that Josh Brown had been physically violent with her more than 20 times—and that the violence had begun when she was pregnant with their daughter in 2009. The couple is now divorced.
When asked to explain his decision to re-sign Brown, Mara said, “Based on the facts and circumstances that we were aware of at that time, we were comfortable with our decision to re-sign him. Nothing has happened in the meantime to make us question that decision.”
Mara has a point: I mean, it’s not like Brown killed someone or sat down for the national anthem.
Correction, 9:32 p.m., Aug. 31: A home page headline for this post originally stated that it was a 49ers executive who described how much Kaepernick was hated. The executives were quoted anonymously, and their team affiliations are not known to Slate.