Last week I saw an interesting question posed on Twitter.
Why is it that people can separate Tom Brady’s politics from his game, but struggle to do the same when it comes to Colin Kaepernick?
Kaepernick, as we all surely remember, was the first player to take a knee during the national anthem several years back. He was protesting racial injustice in our nation.
For this, the quarterback was basically blackballed from playing in the National Football League.
Tom Brady never took any kind of stance on the sideline before a game, but his red MAGA hat was often on display for all to see inside his locker. During those divisive times, the sight of that hat is every bit as offensive to some as taking a knee during the anthem is to others.
Yet Brady is hailed universally as a hero, and Kaepernick’s name is a lightning rod for debate.
Certainly, Kaepernick was not perfect in the way he tried to bring attention to poor treatment of young black men. For example, the pig socks he wore at practice only hurt his cause.
That cause, though, was doomed from the start. You can never win a fight — at least not in the short term — when the opposition can saddle you with the “un-American” label. Even if they are wrong, it is really hard to beat the sham patriots who judge a person by the number of flag decals on his truck.
The thing is, politics of the players should not matter. Players should be allowed to express their political opinion in the same way afforded to Joe The Plumber. Which political candidates the players support should never come into play when cheering on Sundays.
We should be able to listen to or ignore those opinions just like we do with Joe.
Your vote should never keep you off an NFL roster, and it should not keep you out of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
However, do not buy into the claim that Curt Schilling was denied a spot in Cooperstown because of the vile comments he made since his retirement. A politically-persecuted person does not receive 71 percent of the vote.
The bigger question, however, is why do so many athletes get a pass on the horrible things we know that they did?
Brady’s TB12 company took a nearly $1 million Payroll Protection Loan last year when the quarterback and his wife are worth more than $600 million. He just received a $1 million bonus for advancing to yet another Super Bowl.
Yet he needed to take money from a program created to help small businesses keep their doors open?
When Brady took what amounted to be a grant from a limited pool of money that so many small businesses needed, he did not break the law. But it was certainly something a super-rich man should never have done.
When our country was at its lowest point since probably the Great Depression, the quarterback with a mansion the size of Rhode Island jumped the line, and that resulted in fellow Americans losing their jobs and business.
Do you ever hear anything about this on ESPN? Hell no. All you see is fluff piece after fluff piece on Brady, whom they call the greatest of all time as if that was an undisputed fact, which it is not.
Of course, we have seen fans, media and teams look the other way on a whole lot of things that are worse than what Brady did. Way worse. Just look Tyreek Hill, the receiver who is going to help the Chiefs beat Brady’s Bucs by three touchdowns on Sunday.
Just a couple of years ago, Hill was accused of domestic violence and child abuse. His 3-year-old son suffered a broken arm in the incident.
The mother of the child said Hill did it. So did the child.
By the way, go ask a child psychologist how often children tell lies about abuse. It just doe not happen. The child is to be believed, especially when he is 3.
Hill was not charged with a crime, even after incriminating recordings made by the boys’ mother were released in the media. It was not the first time an athlete got preferential treatment from the law.
Take Jameis Winston and Ezekiel Elliott for example. Neither player was charged with crimes, even though overwhelming evidence suggested they were guilty of unspeakable actions against women. That is because Winston was about to win the Heisman Trophy at Florida State and Elliott was a superstar at Ohio State.
Cowboys fans do not bat an eye as they cheer on Elliott touchdowns, just like Chief fans will celebrate Hill on Sunday.
One of the wort cases was Ray Lewis. He pled guilty to obstruction of justice in a double murder just before the start of the 2000 football season. He testified against his friends, who were acquitted, in part, because the jury did not find Lewis to be a reliable witness.
Lewis was initially arrested and held without bond as he faced murder chargers. Investigators still think he was the guilty party.
Yet, Lewis went on to become the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000. He was also named the Super Bowl MVP after his Ravens dismantled the Giants in the Super Bowl.
He was put on the cover of the Madden video game and given lucrative endorsement deals. Today he is featured on Showtime’s Inside the NFL.
All this is after he fessed up to a role in a double murder.
Yet, whenever I point this out on Twitter, I get hit with gifs of Lewis celebrating on the field.
Because I bring up the dead people, I am accused of being a “hater” on the NFL Hall of Fame linebacker. I am called the same for pointing out Brady’s greed or the arm Hill probably broke.
If O.J. Simpson was 25 instead of almost 50 when he beat his murder rap, the running back would have been widely celebrated upon his release. He would be cheered as he resumed is football career, and the endorsement deals would have still rolled in.
Even after his release from prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, the Juice would still been running through the airport on commercials as long as he could still run through NFL defenses. He would have had a role in The Naked Gun 4.
People would have forgotten about Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman even faster than they did.
That is because O.J. was really good at football. He was just really bad at the timing of his horrendous crimes.
Tyreek Hill is really good at football, too. So is Tom Brady. So was Ray Lewis.
As long as you can sack the quarterback or score touchdowns people, fans do not care how many women or children you hit. They do not care how much money you take away from struggling businesses.
They do not even care how many people you might have killed. Touchdowns and sacks will help you overcome anything.
Well, almost anything. Even though other players from all around professional sports have recently taken on the former quarterback’s cause, there just seems to be no road to redemption for Kaepernick.
That disrespect he showed for that flag on your truck cannot be undone.
— Bill Foley, who will be cheering for the Chiefs (except when Tyreek Hill has the ball) on Sunday, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles741 comment