To Kneel or Not to Kneel…It’s Not Even a Question!

Dante Vitoria's Dante's Inferno
By Dante Vitoria October 24, 2017

Before you read another word, I’ll give you the answer. It’s NOT TO KNEEL. Honestly, that shouldn’t have been a question at all.

Instead, here is the question we should all be asking: Can you name one NFL owner who is not a billionaire?

I’ll answer this one for you, as well. NO, you cannot.

Confused? Stay with me, and let me help you. Let me help you, Colin Kaepernick and every NFL player who took a knee, endorsing this poor choice of protest. And let me help the fans and supporters who continue to encourage this ill-advised and disrespectful demonstration. I think there’s an alternative method to getting a valid point across to the league, the media, and the general public.

If Mr. Kaepernick truly wanted to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement – a movement with which I have always taken issue (don’t all lives matter?) – here’s what he should have done:

He should have remembered that NFL owners are billionaires and in the business to make money. And he should have used that as leverage.

Kaepernick should have gone to the front office of the San Francisco 49ers (his former employer) and spoken up regarding his concerns. Perhaps he could have even requested to speak directly with Jed York, the CEO of the team. Then, he could have spread word to the other thirty-one NFL teams and had players follow suit. Members of each team could do the same thing as Kaepernick – go to the bosses and demand to be heard about the same social awareness requests.

From there, one of two things would have happened:

The first scenario? Their requests are denied. I seriously doubt this would happen considering NFL owners, for the most part, are very active in their respective communities.

The second scenario – the one I think would most likely happen: The players would sit with the owners and share their concerns like men, asking the ownership of teams to pass the message along to Congressional leaders. After that initial meeting players could wait a week, maybe two, to see if they receive any feedback or action from the team owners.

If they don’t get a response, the following Sunday at one o’clock in the afternoon, Kaepernick and the other NFL players could line up for the National Anthem, standing at respectful attention to the flag and the United States. However, after two minutes or so, they march off the field, remove their uniforms, and go home. In short, they refuse to play the game that day.

Think about it. Everything would have to be refunded – tickets, parking fees. Ad revenue would be lost, as the advertisers wouldn’t have a game to promote their products. Radio and television dollars would need to be reimbursed, as well.

That is hundreds of million dollars in one day alone.

Do you think this would have been more effective?

Let me tell you just how effective!

According to The Washington Post, the aforementioned 49er’s CEO, Jed York, had a “negative reaction” when Kaepernick first refused to stand for the anthem. However, after speaking with Kaepernick about the reasons he was protesting (racial inequality and the mistreatment of African Americans by the police) York said he became supportive of Kaepernick’s decision. He remains supportive of all the players who kneel during the anthem in protest.

Great choice, Colin. You are unemployed and will never be signed by another team in the NFL, but you managed to convince the man who fired you to support your cause.

Pretzel logic at its finest!

There is even more irony.

The Jacksonville Jaguars owner, Shahid Khan, thinks President Trump is jealous of NFL owners. He believes that’s why Trump is harsh on the league and wants those who protest the National Anthem to be punished. Personally, I find it offensive that Mr. Khan, who became a United States citizen in 1991, approves of disrespecting the country that accepted him with open arms.

Perhaps Mr. Khan should be reminded that if not for the U.S. his home country, Pakistan, would NOT be an independent nation. It would have fallen to India, Afghanistan, or a host of other nations in its region. Perhaps Mr. Khan, a noted and successful engineer, should have paid closer attention in history class. Just saying.

NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, also weighed in on the matter, saying that the league wants players to stand for the anthem, but won’t impose rule changes to force them. Goodell said the league endorsed a bipartisan bill to reform the criminal justice system in the United States. The bill reduces mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders, as well as eliminates the “three strike” provisions that require life sentences, among others.

It seems to me, if the NFL wishes to make law, that law should be to HONOR the flag of the Nation and the National Anthem.

I know I am being picky, right?

If Mr. Goodell is so concerned with the racial inequalities in the U.S., perhaps he can explain THIS FACT:

Since the year 2000, there have been a total of 362 NFL players who have been suspended for committing an infraction of league rules.  Of the 362 players, 21 of them were white players. That’s 5.8%. The rest, you tell me.

Seems to be a rather disproportionate ratio.

According to The Huffington Post, 70% of the players in the NFL are black players. Yet, only 6% of the nation’s population are black males. So, tell me again, who is discriminated against in the NFL?

Here’s another question. Why be divisive if you feel black men are discriminated against and/or treated unfairly? Why don’t the players use their position of importance and celebrity to be productive instead?

Colin, who whispered in your ear?  Clearly, if you retained The Vitoria Group you would have received MUCH BETTER advice. You would still be on an NFL roster, though you wouldn’t be a starting QB (due to your lack of talent, not your skin color).

Stop being a hypocrite. You were born in an upscale community in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. You grew up in a suburb of Fresno, California, which is far from a poor community. Yet, you say you relate to poor inner-city black people.

I recall when Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, was criticized for being a ‘rich woman’ who couldn’t possibly be genuine in her fight to help underprivileged children because she simply didn’t understand their circumstances.

How unfair. Don’t you think, Colin?

The prudent approach would have been to use your leverage with league owners. It would have been the smart decision and your message would have been heard and, more importantly, listened to! It is far more effective to hit someone in the wallet than anywhere else.

I’m sure you know that now, Colin. You lost a 7-year, $126 million contract for a very poor decision.

Tell me, you didn’t major in business at University of Nevada, did you?

Just saying.

Dante Vitoria is the Founder and CEO of The Vitoria Group in New York City.


  1. Colin Kp

    Written like privileged white man.

    The point of a protest is to bring attention to a cause that is not getting attention. Quietly registering a complaint to the back office is not a protest.

    A simple act of kneeling has captured the attention of the national media, sparked comments from the president of the United States, and instigated countless vitriolic posts like yours. Judging from these reactions, it could be the most effective act of civil disobedience in decades.

    Yes, Colin has lost millions. But success is not always counted in dollar bills.

    1. dante vitoria

      I have NO VITRIOL at all. Actually, I am not sure why Kaepernick chose the method of protest that he did. My points he had other options to have the message heard.
      And IF you want to play the MONEY angle, well than why not donate all of his salary to the “CAUSE”? Another method of being heard.


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