Accuracy in Media

ESPN, a sports news outlet, erased several details about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality in 2016.

The sports news outlet headlined Kaepernick’s ongoing advocacy against police brutality, “Why it matters that Roger Goodell didn’t say Colin Kaepernick’s name.” The article used various statements that would best fit in an opinion editorial but not in an article, such as calling police officers “killer cops.”

The article claimed, “It is the NFL’s black fans who also require an apology from Goodell, because in punishing Kaepernick for drawing attention to the senseless killing of black citizens, the NFL chose killer cops over loyal fans, sending the message to them, as well as the players, that their concerns were unimportant compared to white fans who objected to kneeling.”

For the record, not all police officers are “killer cops” and to generalize them as such is unfair and intellectually dishonest, if not slanderous.

The article was published as a part of The Undefeated website, which is an ESPN project to highlight black athlete culture within sports. The Undefeated project tends to veer into opinion editorial journalism and story-telling.

But the article also failed to acknowledge several Kaepernick’s moves which offended football fans.

Some of the details left out of ESPN’s reporting were that Kaepernick wore socks during warm-ups that depicted police officers as pigs, and that Kaepernick also wore a t-shirt depicting the profile of communist guerilla fighter Che Guevara during interviews in the locker room. They offended football fans and conservatives because Kaepernick did not apologize for wearing offensive depictions of police officers and nor did he acknowledge the negative effects from communism and Che Guevara’s guerilla warfare.

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