Sparks flew on the set of ABC’s “The View” Wednesday as co-host Sunny Hostin and guest Michele Tafoya clashed over ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his comparison of the league’s draft process and training camps to slavery.
During a discussion on Kaepernick’s new Netflix special titled “Colin in Black and White,” the two argued over the accuracy of the comparison and eventually butted heads over the reasoning for him no longer playing in the NFL.
“No one pressures them. They’re not forced to go into the NFL,” Tafoya, an NBC Sunday Night Football reporter, said in response to co-host Sara Haines calling the comparison “not a far stretch.”
“I’ve been covering the NFL for 25 years. Nobody forces these guys to play,” she added. “I thought comparing it to the slave trade was a little rough … These guys enter willingly, they are the most well cared for people. Yes they play a hard sport, and every one of them, Black, White, Latino, whoever’s playing the sport, will tell you how much they love it and they’re willing to do it and they make a damn good living.”
Hostin said she loved the special and that it was artfully done, but lamented that headlines surrounding it seemed to be focused on the slavery comparison. She told the story of her experience watching the NFL combine when her son attended and claimed that it made her feel uncomfortable in a way that was similar to how Kaepernick portrayed it.
“The majority of the owners of the NFL are White men. The majority of the players are Black men. So there is – that comparison that he makes to slave owners and slaves is not, sort of, totally unreasonable or out of bounds,” she added.
Tafoya pointed to an interview Hostin conducted with Kaepernick for Ebony magazine in October, in which he showed his love for the NFL by continuing to train on his own. Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and other issues in 2016. A former San Francisco 49er who led the team to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, he has not played in the league since becoming a free agent in 2017.
“He loves the sport but the White owners have prevented him from doing it. They’ve colluded and they have all the power to prevent him from doing the one thing that he loves. That’s the power dynamic,” Hostin claimed.
“If they believed he could win them a Super Bowl, he would be on a team right now. I promise you that,” Tafoya retorted before the show went to a commercial break.
The dual-threat Kaepernick won his starting job with the San Francisco 49ers in the middle of the 2012 season, where the team eventually reached the Super Bowl. They returned to the playoffs the following year, but they slumped in 2014 and eventually suffered losing records in 2015 and 2016 as Kaepernick was benched for inconsistent play. On weak teams, he went a combined 3-16 as a starter his final two years.
After the break, co-host Joy Behar claimed that many Black players go into the NFL because other career fields were closed to them due to racial inequality in the U.S. She then questioned why Kaepernick wasn’t playing football anymore.
“The reason he is not playing is because other owners have colluded together – ” Hostin began before Tafoya jumped in to suggest she should be careful with such accusations.
Hostin continued, claiming he was no longer playing because he took a stand on racial issues and “lost everything.”
“There is no owner in the NFL, to this day, that has the courage to take him back,” she added.
Tafoya retorted that Kaepernick didn’t lose everything, but actually gained “a whole lot,” citing his Netflix special and Nike endorsement deal.
“He lost the one thing he wants to do,” Hostin responded.
“I don’t get to do what I want to do either and sometimes life just ain’t fair and it sucks,” Tafoya said.