Jesse Jackson on NFL Protesters: 'From Picking Cotton Balls to Picking Footballs'

politics
October 23, 2017Oct 23, 2017

According to civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, slavery in the 1800s and modern day professional sports are comparable situations. 

The Daily Caller reports that on Monday, Jackson went on television to explain why he believes black professional athletes in America remain victims. 

“In many ways, it is oppressive. To go from picking cotton balls, to picking footballs and basketballs without freedom is not very much progress. It’s just a lateral move," Jackson said.

Jackson then remarked that black athletes in America have a very difficult situation, in part because they do not have guaranteed contracts. If they refuse to stand for the national anthem then they do not have a guarantee that they'll be able to play. And according to Jackson, this is an abhorrent situation comparable to nineteenth-century slavery.

He claimed, “These guys don’t have guaranteed contracts. Unlike basketball. Unlike baseball, there are no guaranteed contracts. So, you stand today, but you don’t play tomorrow. That’s workplace harassment. That’s illegal.”

The Daily Caller remarks at the end of their article that Jackson's rhetoric is dangerous. 

"Jackson’s rhetoric is not only false, it’s also dangerous," says the article. "For someone who claims to be a leader and scholar of civil rights, you would think he would see the clear distinction between Frederick Douglass and Ezekiel Elliott."

Jackson has been making comments in support of NFL protesters for many weeks. 

Earlier this month, Jackson went onto Bill Maher's "Real Time" to discuss how he thinks NFL owners have "colluded" to keep Kaepernick from playing. 

In particular, he believes that decided he did not have the right to play, primarily because he wants to protest the discriminatory and unequal conditions of black Americans vis-a-vis white Americans. 

Kaepernick intends to file an official grievance against NFL ownership alleging a concerted effort by the 32 teams to expel him from the league. And in his grievance, he intends to cite Trump's public call for owners to fire players who refuse to stand during the national anthem as a central factor in the owner's decision to expel Kaepernick from the field. 

The former quarterback of the 49ers has been unsigned since March, far before President Trump made his remarks about firing players who refuse to stand during the anthem. Kaepernick believes that President Trump created a negative environment in which NFL owners felt compelled, against their will, to avoid public ire by refusing to sign him back.

The former quarterback will not be going through the NFL Players Association, but will rather hire attorney Mark Geragos, the man who represented several high-profile clients, ranging from singer Michael Jackson to NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield.

You can watch his comments in the video below. 

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