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Chargers’ Russell Okung Wonders If NFL’s $89M To Stop Protesting is Just A Reparation For Blackballing Kaepernick
This week, the NFL agreed to give $89 million over seven years to projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education. In return, the players would agree to stop their protesting during the national anthem prior to games.
That agreement has basically divided the players, and while the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins was happy about it and has said he plans on ending his protest, others weren’t so willing to jump on that bandwagon.
Los Angeles Chargers’ Russell Okung recently explained to the LA Times why he thinks the entire thing might be a farce. He also believes that the amount given may be a reparation from the league for blackballing Colin Kaepernick.
“I think, in order to understand what we’d do differently, you have to understand the full political and economic power of the league. When they engage us in ways we can kind of bring about change, that was my thinking — that we should be able to operate on full capacity on multiple levels,” Okung said Friday. “This goes beyond dollars and cents. It goes beyond just allocating funds from other initiatives that are just as important. It’s going to take a real commitment of us, leveraging the platform of the players and empowering us to really talk about these issues, police engagement and brutality.
“That’s just something, I feel, that’s been made into a farce.
Kaepernick’s role with the Players Coalition — or lack thereof — has been cited as part of the reason the group has fractured.
“I think you’ve got to keep in mind who started this whole thing, who sort of put himself on the line. There’s definitely some respect there. I believe this is the same league who has effectively blackballed him,” Okung said. “So when you’re dealing with a certain group of people, this entity as a league — you try to keep in mind, is this a reparation, or just $89 million?
“Reparation extends beyond just dollars and cents, in real change in policy and lobbying. I think that should be more at the forefront of what we’re trying to accomplish here.”
San Francisco’s Eric Reid, Miami’s Michael Thomas, and Okung soon posted a letter on Twitter noting they were no longer associated with the coalition after the deal was reported.