By Ryan Velez
With Colin Kaepernick still not having a job despite many NFL teams being able to potentially make use of his talents, the former quarterback has taken his protests to the next level, filing a formal collusion grievance against the NFL. Many people have weighed in on Kaepernick over the last few months, but TMZ reports that one of the most interesting responses came from rapper and mogul Master P.
P’s answer was less about social justice and more about business. "I'll help him start his own league. I think he should, I mean he's a great football player. I think the NFL should have some competition." His point is that the only way to give Kaepernick freedom regarding how he chooses to demonstrate is to have ownership, in this case, starting his own league. Master P technically isn’t incorrect. Certainly, the ownership and sponsorship issues surrounding the NFL are informing its response. Compare it to the how the NBA handled the issue for its season openers.
On paper, competing against the NFL seems absurd. One need only remember the disastrous XFL venture that WWE put together in 2001 to see how quickly things can go south when dealing with a national institution. However, Master P is no novice when it comes to sports startups. Global Mixed Gender Basketball league is off to an incredible start, attracting big-name talent like the Gonzalez Twins, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Metta World Peace. While a Master P-led league would be unlikely to be competition, it could be an entertaining product, and at the very least, give a spotlight for more professional football players to practice their craft under a proper spotlight.
In the formal filings of Kaepernick’s collusion case, he alleges that league owners "colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice." He also chose to hire attorney Mark Geragos versus going through the NFL Players Association.
While many support Kaepernick, there is also an underpinning of concern about the direction that the controversy has gone through. Some feel that the original intention of the protests, to call attention to police misconduct, has become secondary to debating the merits of the national anthem, something that has gone into overdrive since the president made comments regarding kneeling as disrespectful. It will be interesting to see if the players at the heart of this will be able to wrangle the narrative back in the future.