- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Daily News columnist and Black Lives Matter leader Shaun King announced Tuesday the “heartbreaking” decision to boycott the NFL over its “blatant bigotry” for purportedly blacklisting Colin Kaepernick.

“I’m 37 years old and literally cannot remember a year in my life where I have not been a sports junkie. But I won’t be watching the NFL this year,” Mr. King wrote in a column published Tuesday.

“I can’t, in good conscience, support this league, with many of its pro-Trump owners, as it blacklists my friend and brother Colin Kaepernick for taking a silent, peaceful stance against injustice and police brutality in America,” he said. “It’s disgusting and has absolutely nothing to do with football and everything to do with penalizing a brilliant young man for the principled stance he took last season.”

The Seattle Seahawks’ decision to sign Austin Davis as their backup quarterback, after flying Mr. Kaepernick to meet with the team, was a “disgrace,” Mr. King wrote. He argued that Mr. Davis, who is white, is a “scrub” whose football career has been inferior to Mr. Kaepernick’s. Mr. King suggested the reason Mr. Kaepernick remains unsigned is because of the controversy the former San Francisco 49er sparked while leading a nationwide boycott of the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America.

“Last season, Colin Kaepernick — in what may be seen as his most turbulent year ever — threw three more touchdowns and eight fewer interceptions than Austin Davis has in his entire career in the league, but somehow, Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have job?” Mr. King wrote.

“It’s racism. It’s bigotry. It’s discrimination. Period,” he continued. “It’s not football. Don’t call it football. If you call the decisions by 32 teams to not sign this man a football decision, you don’t know football and probably voted for Donald Trump. Nearly 100 quarterbacks — 96, in fact — are usually signed to teams in the NFL. That Colin Kaepernick is not one of them is disgusting.”

However, Mr. King said the final straw was when ESPN announced it was bringing country singer Hank Williams Jr. and his “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” back for its NFL broadcasts, following a six-year absence over comments he made comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.

“Hank Williams, Jr. is basically Donald Trump with a guitar,” Mr. King wrote. “He’s a bigot. Everybody knows it. His songs and statements have echoed bigotry for years, but now that Obama is out of office, he’s back.

“Hank Williams, Jr., and Austin Davis are employed right now and Colin Kaepernick isn’t,” he said. “Shame on this league for following Trump’s lead in spirit, tone and now in actions. I’m appalled. As a lifelong fan, I’m deeply disappointed. What I do know is this — I can’t support this product.”

Mr. King’s column, titled “I’m boycotting the NFL because of its blatant bigotry and anti-blackness,” as well as the hashtag #Boycott NFL, had gained significant traction on social media by Tuesday afternoon.

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