When Dr. Harry Edwards, the civil rights sports activist speaks, it would be wise to listen. On Tuesday night’s The African-American Athlete talk show on the Talk2MeSports Network, Edwards fired a warning shot to the National Football League regarding Colin Kaepernick.
Edwards, 74, organized the Olympic Project for Human Rights initiative in 1967, which not only challenged the politics of sports, but the politics of society. The creation of OPHR led to the famous ‘Black Power’ protest by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic games.
Throughout his remarkable career as an educator, author (his book ‘Revolt of the Black Athlete’ is a must read), and activist, Edwards has touched on many social issues via sports. Those battles include the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the FBI, who once had him under surveillance.
Edwards discussed a variety of topics, during his visit with hosts Michael Roberson and Rickey Hampton, columnists for TheAfricanAmericanAthlete.com. He saved some of his most powerful comments for Kaepernick, who is clearly being ‘whiteballed’ by NFL owners for his anthem protest last season.
“The NFL needs to sign him, I think it is simple as that,” Edwards said. “I don’t care about this argument on whether or not it’s collusion, or reactionary political culture. It really doesn’t matter because the outcome is all the same. “
“And if Kaepernick is not signed by the beginning of the regular season it’s not Kaepernick that’s going to have a problem, it’s the National Football League that’s going to have a problem.”
“They [NFL] have brought in people who have been associated with double murders, they have brought back people who have been associated with dog-fighting, and murdering mutts,” Edwards explained. “They have brought in people who have been associated with rape, drafted the a guy in this past draft that hit a woman so hard in Oklahoma he could have killed her.”
“They have brought back people who have been guilty of vehicle manslaughter while driving under the influence, and brought back people who have beaten on women, domestic violence not once, but two or three different times. [They have] brought in people who have been charged with rape, two or three times, and they’ve been on the field.”
“But, somebody who takes a knee, and says 147 black men, women and children and women shot by police on the average every year since 1968, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed… we are better than this as a people and as a society.”
Edwards on Kaepernick:
This is the full interview with Dr. Edwards, who discussed many topics, including the Olympic Project for Human Rights, the role of athletes and activism, the 1965 AFL All-Star game boycott, and the power of today’s superstar athletes. The African-American Athlete talk show airs every Tuesday at 10 p.m EST. Check Theafricanamericanathlete.com website for more information.