Ray Lewis Says Kaepernick Should Keep Activism “Private”

Like Michael Vick recently, former NFL player and Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis, said a stupid thing intended as advice to Colin Kaepernick. Lewis, the former Baltimore Raven linebacker posted a video via Twitter with what appears to be a message of encouragement. This turned out to be an epic fail on the part of Lewis. No stranger to saying stupid things unrelated to football, Lewis said that Kaepernick should keep his off-field activism and advocacy work “private,” and to himself

I agree with Ray when he said that Colin needs to speak up for himself. I mean, who can better sell Colin Kaepernick to NFL teams than Colin Kaepernick?

“The football field is our sanctuary,” Lewis said. “If you do nothing else, young man, get back on the football field and let your play speak for itself. And what you do off the field, don’t let too many people know, because they gonna judge you anyway, no matter what you do, no matter if it’s good or bad.”

Ray Lewis

Lewis is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Ravens, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he knows what it takes to make it in the NFL. Having had a run-in with the law himself and beating a murder charge, there’s also no doubt that Lewis understands damage control as it relates to the NFL brand. A devout Christian, Lewis said he prays for Kaepernick and has his name in his Bible. He also called Kaepernick a “brother for life.”

A devout Christian, Lewis said he prays for Kaepernick and has his name in his Bible. He also called Kaepernick a “brother for life.”

“If people really want to help you, if they really want to help you, man, they’ll pray for you, brother,” said Lewis. “They’ll lead you the right way and stop encouraging you to be caught up in some of this nonsense. The battles you fighting, brother, people way before us have been fighting these for many, many, many years,” he added.

All that religiosity aside, again, I agree with what Ray Lewis said. But that other shit he said? C’mon, bruh! NFL players get annual awards for their very public activism work.

So no, that’s rubbish.

Just Stick To On-Field Football Commentary, Ray Lewis

In fact, charitable work and social advocacy are encouraged because it bodes well for the NFL brand. It’s the reason the NFL does its best to “protect the shield,” as they say. Because, with NFL being the number one sport in America, it’s understandable why, to them, image and branding are everything. Which, when you think about the stand Kaepernick took last year as a personal demonstration against racial injustices vis-a-vis police violence, it makes sense why he’s having a hard time finding a job in the NFL.

Which is bullshit in itself when you consider that there are NFL players like Malcolm Jenkins and others who publicly do advocacy work related to racial justice. In fact, Jenkins was one of four current and former NFL players who met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss police brutality and criminal justice reform in 2016. Guess what? They still have spots on NFL teams, and they don’t appear to be “blackballed” like Kaepernick.

Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins, Donte Stallworth and Johnson Bademosi sit for a congressional forum on March 31, 2017, Rep. Donald Payne’s (D-NJ.) office

Okay, so they didn’t choose to sit or kneel during the national anthem before games like Kaepernick. I get it – what he did was a lot bolder. Yet and still, Kaepernick announced earlier this year that he has no intention to pursue similar protests in the future. While this is certainly a concern for teams, contrary to Ray Lewis’ advice, Kaepernick’s off-field activism should not matter. All that matters – or should matter – is his talent and skill.

While I believe that Ray Lewis genuinely meant well, to me, it’s apparent that he didn’t convey what e truly meant to say. The tragedy here is that he made this a public gesture. Which, to me, says that it was more about Ray Lewis than Colin Kaepernick. If it wasn’t, a simple private phone call to Kaepernick would have sufficed, yes? Especially if Lewis really wants to see Kaepernick signed by the Baltimore Ravens.