Fmr. 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick Compares NFL Draft To Slavery In Netflix Documentary – CBS San Francisco
SAN JOSE (KPIX) — The sports world is responding to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s comparison of the NFL draft process to slavery in the six-part Netflix documentary about his life, ‘Colin in Black & White.’
The former star athlete said that potential draftees are poked, prodded and examined during the NFL combine, and there is “no boundary respected, no dignity left intact.” The episode then shows a group of Black rookie football players moving to an auction block from a training field.
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Lorenzo Neal, who played 16 seasons in the NFL and went through the combine, said Kaepernick used a poor choice of words.
“When you’re talking about a combine, the combine Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of all times, he went through it — there was no exceptions,” Neal said. “They are assessing who you are. They want to make sure that they’re getting the goods that they’re getting, because they’re getting ready to pay you a handsome salary. But is that not what it’s like when you go through an interview for a job.”
Neal said that when people talk about slavery, many actually “have no idea what it’s really liked to be beat, to be whipped, to be maimed.”
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“I think for Colin to make that statement and then to try to get back in a place, in a league, that you feel treats you like a slave, I just think he has to be careful using that type of language,” said Neal.
San Jose State Assistant Professor of Public Relations and Sports Communication Dr. Shaun Fletcher used to work on the other side of combines.
He worked for the operations side of a college football team, and visited combines. He said there is a process of the pre-drafting process that cameras are not allowed to capture, but he said he still would not compare it to slavery.
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“Hands are stretched to see how wide their hands are, they are moved and pulled in unusual positions,” Fletcher said. “The combine ultimately, when it ended, it did not end in disenfranchisement (sic) and death. It did not end in lineages being broken up. For many, it ended in generational wealth. I’m sure that many players would ultimately tell you, because I’ve spoken with many of them myself, that they would do it again.”
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