Lurie Disputes Kaepernick Ban
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - One of the more progressive owners in the NFL denied that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been blacklisted by the league for his decision to kneel during the national anthem last season.
Kaepernick remains unemployed as the league gets ready to kick off the 2017 season and many activists have discussed boycotting the NFL until Kaepernick gets a job.
One group using the hashtag #NoKaepernickNoNFL claims to have a petition with 175,000-plus signatures promising to steer clear of the league in the meantime.
Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie, however, disputed the notion that Kaepernick is being singled out for his social activism.
"I think the definition of being 'blacklisted' is some discussion among some people to not hire, not approve, or something like that," Lurie said during a wide-ranging discussion with reporters at the NovaCare Complex on Thursday. "I've never had a discussion with anybody. It doesn't work that way. There's no communication whatsoever. We're very competitive against each other, 32 owners."
The thought that the NFL commissioner would ask all 32 owners to get on board with banning Kaepernick or vice versa is admittedly far-fetched and Lurie looked to assure all those who are upset that's not the way the NFL does business.
"I don't reveal anything. They [others owners] don't reveal anything," he explained. "There's never been any discussion about any player in my 23 years in the league, I've never heard any discussion of any player in the league like that. You keep it to yourself. You have your own strategy. I think that's the way it works."
As far as the issue as a whole, Lurie explained his thought process when it comes to those who have used the National Anthem to protest, including his own star safety Malcolm Jenkins, who raises his fist in an effort to raise awareness for social-justice reform.
"Social injustice is a big problem in America," Lurie said. "It's a big problem around the globe. Anybody who wants to do proactive things to try to reverse social injustice, I'm all in favor of. It has to be respectful. It certainly has to respect the military and the men and women who serve our country. Emergency responders. Whoever that is. If you do it in a respectful way."
"I applaud anybody that can find respectful ways of trying to find their platform in some way," he continued. "We all need to discuss social injustice. We've all seen it. It's multiple issues. It's not simple racial issues. There's a lot of economic issues. Players have grit and determination, there's no boundary on how that grit and determination gets expressed. Sports is an opportunity to bring people together. I applaud when players can bring communities together."
When asked if he would consider signing Kaepernick, Lurie demurred and insisted the Eagles are happy with their current situation at the position with starter Carson Wentz and backup Nick Foles.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen