Drama King

The King.

That’s what they call him.

A 6-8 freight train in his 15th season that is still considered as an MVP favorite, and is capable of appearing in his 8th consecutive NBA Finals.

Rings? He’s got three of them. Philanthropy? He sends thousands of kids to college every year.

A hairline? Okay, everybody can’t have everything, but you get it.

LeBron James is almost the perfect athlete. He’s royalty to this generation.

But if there’s one thing I can honestly say that he’s the king of… it’s being dramatic.


(I’ll stop typing when I start lying.)

Remember ‘The Decision’ 8 years ago? The hour-long TV special that ran specifically for LeBron, so he could announce his departure for Miami.

Or what about his first-person essay in Sports Illustrated in 2014? The time he revealed that he would return to the Cavaliers, so he could bring Cleveland a championship.

And now we’re entering a new ‘LeBron Sweepstakes’ where the basketball world is in a frenzy because everyone keeps asking the same question: Where is Mr. James playing next?

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Now this is not the part in the blog where I predict his next team based on history, investigative reports, surveys, or whatever. But I will, however, go into detail about what would be the most LeBron-esque free agency move, and why it makes sense.

Peep my theory.

About a week ago, The King revealed his final four: 76ers, Lakers, Rockets, and of course, the Cavaliers. Out of these options, only 2 make sense. The 76ers are still “processing,” and the young Lakers aren’t a good fit for a soon-to-be 16-year veteran.

Cleveland is only a realistic option because it’s home. But he has left before, and he will leave again.

“Leave the Land?” Yes. This is the same city that burned his jerseys in the street, and LeBron gave them a Larry O’Brien Trophy in return. They’re even.

“But why Houston?” Ask yourself, “why Miami?” and you’ll get your answer. LeBron has friends there. CP3 has been like a brother his whole career, and his boy is ring-less. LeBron would love to sign a two-year deal for that cause. As a matter of fact, I’ll even call him pulling one of his typical GM moves mid-season to get a trade for Carmelo Anthony.

“He’s not leaving the East, bruh.” That does sound, crazy right? The idea of ‘Bron leaving a conference that can’t beat him is ludicrous. But you know what would add great value to the LeBron storyline that people love to glorify? Other than finally dethroning the Warriors, he faces the player that wants to destroy him in the Finals…Kyrie. Subsequently, the NBA doesn’t lose ratings.

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Like I said, I’m not into making predictions. I’m just speaking on possibilities. And the way LeBron tells us this time is through a pic on Instagram posted at 3:23 p.m. tagging Chris Paul in it with a Drake lyric as the caption, and I’ll be disappointed if I’m not entertained the slightest bit.



How the NCAA has Become the Abusive Husband of Sports

Oh! You clicked the link, which means I have your attention. Or it could just be that you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about after you read the title.

Either way it goes, you’re here, and now I can share my epiphany.

The other day I was watching ‘Enough,’ a movie starring Jennifer Lopez. (Yes. That’s my sole purpose of watching it, and it’s one of my favorite movies. *shrugs)

Anyways, the film is about Slim, a young waitress, who ultimately meets the man of her dreams while serving an obnoxious customer. Mitch Hiller was Slim’s savior; if her dream was to meet a successful entrepreneur that was attractive and charismatic, then she hit the jackpot. Or so she thought.

Years later, Slim couldn’t be happier. She’s married, has a daughter, and most importantly, she doesn’t have to work for tips at a diner anymore. Everything is perfect until she discovers that Mitch is having an affair. When Slim confronted Mitch about it,  he responded by punching her in the face.

The man she once loved has become her nemesis.

Slim has a choice to make: she could either tolerate the abuse or runaway with her daughter to find peace. She chose the latter, which sparked a journey of paranoia that exposed Mitch to be a violent control freak.

The movie doesn’t end this way, but along the journey Slim catches up with her old boyfriend, Joe, who gives her the security and freedom that she’s been running after. Now while watching this movie I asked myself, “Is she wrong for finding happiness in someone else, even though she’s still legally married? Mitch would never concede to a divorce, so what other options are there?”

Even though it’s not right, is it technically still wrong? This is the question I have for the NCAA.

Being a student-athlete is a privilege. Students should be very appreciative of the idea of going to college for free while playing the sport they love. It’s a blessing, and being somebody who didn’t have that luxury, I’m the first person to tell a student-athlete to cherish the opportunity.

However, I’m also an advocate for people getting paid their worth. Sport junkies love stats, so here are some numbers:

According to a report in the Indy Star, the NCAA tallies $1 billion in annual revenue. Fox Sports reported in 2014 that the average college football player has a market value of $178,000/year; and for college basketball players, it’s $375,000. I’m not the most intelligent person, but if the average student pays $9,000 a year in tuition fees, then that means there’s a lot of money still out there. Right? I mean…. if I’m wrong, tell me where I made an error in my math.

College basketball has been in a frenzy as of late. An FBI investigation identified at least 25 players from prominent programs receiving monetary benefits from sport agencies. These agencies allegedly invested in marketable players through “hush money” so the players will sign with them once they declare for the draft.

Is it illegal? Yes, but think of it from this perspective. If you saw the NCAA giving coaches monetary bonuses for having a successful season (from your performance), but the organization doesn’t feel the need to pay you your worth, what would you do? That’s what I thought.

Now back to the movie.

Slim realizes that the only way she can move on is to kill her past. Literally. The movie ends with Slim scheming to get Mitch alone, so she can be done with her psychotic husband once and for all.

Now, hold your horses. I’m not saying that college athletes should kill the NCAA. However, this is a storm that the NCAA’s greed has created, and I believe this is what the student-athletes have to do to be heard: Boycott the Big Dance, the NCAA’s primary money maker.

Before this potentially happens, I urge the NCAA to do some serious soul searching. They know what they have to do solve this matter. Because everyone knows what one man won’t do, another will. If they don’t take ownership of this mess, they will find themselves in competition.



Poor Little I.T.

He was on his A game.

He was averaging nearly 30 a night. He was in the hunt for MVP. And he pushed a decent Celtics team to a #1 overall seed in the East.

Little Isaiah Thomas was making his mark, and was showing the world that heart beats height on the hardwood. He was aggressively putting Boston back to prominence, but only to injure his hip in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and receive a call from Danny Ainge, the general manager, three months later that consisted of four words that can stun any player:

“I just traded you.”

(Well damn, Danny)


No longer the big man in Boston (well, you know what I mean), Thomas was expected to play second-in-command to LeBron James and help the Cavaliers make another Finals run.

But his highly anticipated comeback turned catastrophic. The Cavaliers only won 7 games during his return, and I.T. has been exposed as one of the worst defenders in the league. Not to mention, the unneeded reports of Thomas causing friction in the locker room.

Yet, there seemed like there was a light at the end of the tunnel after Cleveland gained a quality win over Minnesota. But as the trade deadline approached and Thomas was questioned about his future with the Cavs, he simply responded, “I like it here…I’m tired of being traded.”

And in not even 24 hours, he was shopped to L.A.

(Really, Cleveland)


So now what for Isaiah Thomas? He’s in the final year of his contract, and is not a priority for the Lakers this offseason. He’s not a part of a playoff team anymore, and is likely to play backup to Lonzo Ball, a rookie.

(And Isaiah is not having it.)

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Thomas’ career hasn’t hit rock bottom, but it’s for damn sure at a 180. Once dubbed as the ‘Mighty I.T.’ by Kobe Bryant is now seen as a sidekick. It’s hard to guess what team would be willing to invest in him, but all Isaiah Thomas could ask for at this point is to be valued and wanted.


And the Lombardi Trophy Goes to…

Alright. First things first, I, Dariel, would like to acknowledge my annoyance for these two gentlemen below:


Please, don’t misinterpret my emotion. I have a tremendous amount of respect for both, but watching these two in another Super Bowl is like watching the Rocky series…we already know how it plays out in the end.

I would also like to congratulate both of these teams for making it to the season’s finale, however, this is not a blog that passes out participation trophies. Only winners get remembered, and, unfortunately, I have to pick one. So let’s breakdown this matchup in Minneapolis, shall we?

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Philly shocked the nation last week with the beating they put on the Vikings. Nick Foles showed out and threw for 352 yards. The Eagles rushed for over 100 yards, and their defense gave Case Keenum hell. Keenum threw 2 picks and was forced to fumble on a crucial possession after a strip came from his blind side.

But entering the Super Bowl, I do have one major concern for them. The Eagles’ backup tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai has held his own ever since Jason Peters’ tore his ACL. But he’s going to have to find a new strength blocking Trey Flowers and James Harrison for 60 minutes. This could hurt the Eagles’ run and make Foles very uncomfortable.


Last week was another classic case of Brady being Brady. The Patriots had all the reasons to lose. They didn’t maintain control of the ball, rushed for only 46 yards, and fumbled in the 4th quarter, which should’ve put the Jaguars over the edge. So, what happened? Tom Brady had the ball with 4 minutes left to go, and the rest is history.

But if Tom Brady wants to continue to make history, he needs to get his line in order. The Eagles’ D hasn’t allowed more than 10 points in 4 straight games, and Philly is looking to earn more respect this Sunday.

D-UP!’s Pick:

I counted Brady & Belichick out last Sunday, but I won’t make the same mistake twice. New England will take another Lombardi Trophy home, and I’ll be depressed about it once again. I really hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see the Patriots losing this game.

And if the Patriots have the last possession in a tight game, I’m turning off my TV.

Congrats Pats. You win 23-20.

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D-UP!’s Super Bowl Surmise

Four teams. Two games. Only one chance to play for history. Strap yourselves in for another fun Sunday, and let’s see who advances to the championship round:


Only one of these teams has a 5-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Only one of these teams has a Hall of Fame-caliber coach. And that team will not be competing in this year’s Super Bowl.

I hate to count Brady & Belichick out, but I’d be a fool not to be in on the Jaguars. They’re good. Damn good.

I watched a defense last week demand their respect as they destroyed the Steelers’ offense in the first half. In the first 28 minutes of the game, ‘Sacksonville’ forced three turnovers and scored a touchdown from a fumble recovery. But, the Jaguars’ D is no secret. We’ve witnessed all season long how they get down.

However, what is a mystery is Blake Bortles’ performance. You could argue that the Jags’ defense aids him with great field positioning. You could even say that Leonard Fournette is the muscle of the offense. But when push came to shove at Heinz Field, Bortles delivered. A 45-yarder to Keelan Cole and a 14-yard TD to Tommy Bohanon solidified Bortles as a QB. He’s arrived.

No disrespect to New England, but the Patriots’ offense is not as good as the Steelers’, and their defense is… eh. If the Jags play in Foxborough like they did last week, a Belichick scheme won’t save them. Let’s also not forget that the Jaguars have Tom Coughlin in the front office now… the only coach to beat Tom Brady and his Pats in not one, but two Super Bowls.

Jags win, 38-31.




Let’s get straight to the point about this game. This is going to be a tight one. A game decided by five points or less. Both teams run well, but both teams are elite at stopping the run. Both teams also have quarterbacks that are trying to silence the haters. This about as even as it’s going to get.

This is the only game where I feel that it’s not about stats or analytics. It’s going to be a dog fight all the way to the end. But I do believe the team that establishes the run game first will win this game.

Vikings, I hope y’all enjoyed your miraculous win versus the Saints last week because that was your Super Bowl. The Eagles will hold their own on their home turf, 14-10.



Philly and Jags, pack your bags. You got a one-way ticket to Minneapolis to fight for Super Bowl LII.




D-UP! Decides the Divisions

Another week of playoff football! This blog will analyze the divisional round games for this weekend, and who I have advancing to the conference championships. Let’s get to it!



The Divisional round will be kicked off with the Battle of the Birds.

Sorry Dirty Bird fans, but the Falcons’ season will end Saturday afternoon. Why? Because their gritty backfield of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman will be restrained by a defense that only allows 79 rushing yards/game. Sure, Philadelphia will have their own issues under center depending on backup QB Nick Foles to lead them to the NFC Championship. But if the Eagles can get Jay Ajayi rolling early, who rushed for 130 yards against Atlanta’s D in Week 6, the rest of the offense will find its flow.

However, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Mohamed Sanu won’t go away quietly. This game will come down to a field goal. Philly takes it 24-21.



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The Titans were fortunate in Kansas City last week, but luck won’t cut it in Foxborough. Tom Brady hasn’t lost a Divisional game since the 2010 playoffs, and if I see this sight on TV, I’d advise Tennessee to start calling on Jesus’ name—>AP BENGALS PATRIOTS FOOTBALL S FBN USA MA

But it won’t be a blowout. New England’s defense has been average all year. They allow about 250 passing yards/game, which is close to last in the league, and they’re not much better at stopping the run. If Derrick Henry can rush for over 150 yards again, things could get interesting.

Patriots will be victorious though. 35-20.

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Ben, Bell, and Brown. Too much star power for the Jaguars’ defense to handle. I expect the game to be close in the first quarter, because the energy will be high and All-Pro CB Jalen Ramsey will have the Jags fired up. But Blake Bortles has to deal with ‘Blitzburgh’ for 60 minutes. Do you think I’m going to have faith in a quarterback that’s averaging 10 points in his last two games against a top-5 defense? Yeah, right. Steelers run away with it, 38-6.



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Have some pizza and wings ready, because this game is going to be a showdown. The third-ranked offense vs the top-ranked defense. Drew Brees is going to have his hands full in the U.S. Bank Stadium. The Saints are known for the deep ball, so running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara will need to make their presence known to shake things up a bit.

Case Keenum has been ballin’ all year, but I’m curious to see how he reacts to the pressure Sunday night. Playoff football doesn’t compare to the regular season. Just ask the Rams. It’s hard, but I’m calling an upset here. The Saints will come out on top, 26-19.



D-UP!’s Deck of Wild Cards


Alright! Seventeen weeks is up, and the final cut has been made. Wild Card Weekend is finally upon us, so let’s not waste any more time. Here are my predictions for the games this weekend:

The Titans have had a roller-coaster season, but the Chiefs will put them out of their misery on Saturday. The Chiefs ended the year on a four game-winning streak including 3 wins in their tight division. They are ready.

The Titans, on the other hand, will be without RB DeMarco Murray, and injury-prone Marcus Mariota has had an average season at best. I also refuse to believe in any team that loses to the 49ers while fighting for a playoff spot. Chiefs 35-10.

chiefs win


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L.A. has been amazing this year, but all great things must come to an end.

The Falcons are seeking redemption after last year’s epic failure in Super Bowl LI, and will be ready to go Saturday night. The Falcons will be victorious at the Coliseum if they use their weapons (Jones, Freeman, and Coleman) accordingly.

However, it won’t be easy considering the Rams might be the best offensive team in the NFL. Get ready for a tight one, folks. Falcons 38-34.




Defense wins championships, and the Jaguars have a whole lot of it.

The Jags only allow 16 points per contest, and have the ability to put points on the board quick. They’re sixth in the league for scoring. However, I do question if QB Blake Bortles can handle the playoff pressure.

Buffalo relies a lot on RB LeSean McCoy. If Shady can’t shake his ankle injury, then it’s going to be a long 60 minutes for Buffalo. Jags 24-7.

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I’m not really looking forward to this meeting. The real match-up to anticipate is Cam Newton vs. the media after the game because watching him complain while he wears a tight shirt and a cowboy hat seems to get the people riled up.

The Saints have won the last two meetings by double digits, and they’re going to make it a three-peat this weekend. Drew Brees’ arm will be too much for Carolina’s secondary, and Cam doesn’t have enough offensive weapons to match the Saints productivity.
Maybe if Carolina maintains possession of the ball more, they could have a shot.

Nah. Who am I kidding? Saints 31-20.

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Thanks for the Seat, But…

Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

Thanks for the seat at the table,

But now we want your chair too.


Corporate America, you have been good to our black athletes.

And I’m saying ‘our’ because this is coming from a young, black male’s perspective, and I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to be bias. So deal with it as I continue.

Now, what was I saying again?

Oh, yeah. You’ve been good.

Your table consisting of professional sports leagues, like the NBA and the NFL, has welcomed black players into a land of everything they’ve dreamed about: popularity, paper, and the unparalleled feeling of ‘taking moms out the ‘hood.’


However, I’ve observed that your table doesn’t receive us unless certain costs have been incurred first. When the dotted line is signed, our physicality comes with a fee; our athleticism is seen as an asset, rather than an advantage; and of course, we have to suffer the setback of restricted speech.


As I continue to look around the table, I notice that everyone’s pigment is similar, except for the one in the main chair.

Three-fourths of the NBA is black, and NFL surveys revealed that nearly 70% of its league is African-American. It’s evident that we are qualified enough to be recognized at the table. We’re just not revered as leaders.

However,  because we live in a country that has a past of racial barriers being broken, I would expect history to repeat itself involving sport ownership.

And it’s going to happen soon.

Did you ever think that a crazy, young brother named Ice Cube would start his own successful league for retired NBA players?

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Or how about when you thought the slogan ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop’ was only limited to the music industry? The same flashy music mogul who said this is now pursuing an NFL franchise for sale.


And if that don’t do it, here’s the gut-puncher. The loud, obnoxious father who started the Big Baller Brand is looking to compete against college basketball by paying high-school standouts to play in his junior pro league. Not a bad deal for the kids who already feel exploited by the NCAA.


Our competence in a business suit will be respected as much as our skill in a jersey. If you choose to downplay the potential transition of ownership in sports, be my guest. You’ll have to face reality one day. But as for me, I would like to end this encounter with the same way I started.


Violets are blue.

Roses are red.

Get ready to give up your chair

Because I would fear everything I just said.


Big ‘Baltic’ Brand?

The dream was absolute, but the father’s plan was simple.

His oldest son would bring Bruin basketball back to prominence, which would transcend him as the Lakers’ 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.


His youngest boy would become a 5-star recruit, and he, too, would take a shot at becoming UCLA’s next star.


And his middle child… Well, there’s always that one.


LaVar Ball was on his way to becoming an NBA mogul. Powered by his big mouth and his kids’ athletic star power, Big Baller Brand had the potential to leave the nest as a family business and become the next empire in the shoe market.

It’s not too late for LaVar’s vision to transpire, but there are some unique problems that need to be addressed.


Lonzo Ball can’t shoot the ball in the ocean. A 40% three-point shooter at UCLA is shooting 24% from three as a rookie, and has the worst overall field-goal percentage in the NBA.

LaVar made a questionable move by pulling his youngest son, LaMelo, out of public school, so he can train him to be “the best basketball player ever.”

And LiAngelo was one of three UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting at multiple luxury stores in China. He and his two teammates would later be arrested, which resulted in an indefinite suspension from the team.

Why are all of these problems unique? Because they make you wonder ‘How?’

How do you adjust a player’s shooting form when he’s been efficient until now?

How do you tell a father that pulling his child from school isn’t a wise decision when he knows what’s best for his son?



And how do you tell LiAngelo that—Actually, his situation should make you wonder “What the hell?” Because that was just stupid.

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So, where does all of this leave the Ball family?

A first class ticket to the Baltic League (BBL), where LaMelo and LiAngelo will sign one-year deals to play with Lithuanian basketball club Prienu Vytautas.

Some will argue that this is a classic case of LaVar Ball exploiting his kids. Others will say that this is a great opportunity for these young athletes to mature faster and bloom into stellar professionals.

I say this is the last stretch for the Ball family.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, LiAngelo hasn’t impressed any NBA scouts up to this point, and his chances of making it to the NBA are slim to none. LaMelo, on the other hand, is only 16 with a lot of room to grow. However, he still has to remained disciplined over the years just to have a shot at playing professionally back home.

But if Lonzo doesn’t turn into the game-changer he’s supposed to be for the Laker franchise, the Big Baller Brand will be a Big Bust.




When a human is decapitated, a few things happen to the rest of the body. Within seconds, the individual’s vital organs (heart, lungs, etc.) stop receiving instructions. The blood’s circulation discontinues, which means the cells stop getting its necessary oxygen. Once the cells die out, so does the person.

After reading such gruesome details, one may wonder what kind of crime needs to be committed to earn a death sentence like this. Historically in Europe, a person would be beheaded for murder. However, recent history proves that people can also be beheaded for refusing to conform to rules established by government, or protesting against a powerful political group for moral/ethical reasons.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

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Colin Kaepernick still has all of his body parts intact (for now), but his career is in captivity. Since his kneel during the national anthem in 2016, Kaepernick has been the media’s new favorite target. Sport analysts like Matt Hasselbeck mocked his stance, calling it “a distraction.” Every team in the NFL has passed on signing the 29-year-old quarterback fearing they’ll receive backlash for doing so. Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, even went as far to say that Kaepernick is too elite to sign as a backup. (I rolled my eyes as I typed that.)

And if you’re not feeling any sympathy yet, maybe this will set you over the edge— The oppressed people that Colin Kaepernick was standing up for (or kneeling down sort to speak) turned their backs on him.


Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock called Kaepernick “Martin Luther Cornrow” and believed that Kaep’s motive was to save his job. Cleveland Browns’ coach Hue Jackson said that he doesn’t want his team to follow up on Kaepernick’s protest this year. Retired QB Michael Vick also made headlines when he told the media that Kaep would be starting if he would cut his hair.

(Really bro…)

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It’s been very heartbreaking to witness these things transpire. Who would’ve thought that other black men with a platform would sell out quicker than Kobe’s last game?

I understand that Kaepernick hasn’t done everything perfectly. He embraced his political role, but didn’t exercise his right to vote in this past year’s election. He only led the 49ers to 1 victory last season, and he had one of the worst quarterback ratings (QBR). However, the Niners didn’t put Kaep in a position to be successful. Pro Football Focus ranked the 49ers offensive line 28th in the league, and the Niners was ranked last in defensive efficiency (ESPN).

And if Kaepernick not voting is your only reason for condemning him, you need to check your self and the facts. During the press conference last August, Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Now show me where the word “vote” is in that statement. I got time.

And if you also think one vote would stop the chaos that’s happening right now in Charlottesville, then I would like to politely say one thing— you’re stupid.

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Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL. You know it, and I know it. Unlike the critics, I refuse to live in denial. The league is showing itself for what it really is, which is a reflection of AmeriKKKa. Kaepernick has used his time as a free agent donating to various causes, feeding the homeless, and speaking to children about their human rights. Yet, the people he was speaking against are doing this…


So, who’s really the enemy here?

It’s laughable that we’re approaching another exciting season on the gridiron, and quarterbacks like Tom Savage, Blaine Gabbert, and Jay Cutler are all in a uniform. It’s even more laughable that as bad as Kaep played last year, he was still a more accurate passer than he was in 2013; the year he almost took San Francisco to back-to-back Super Bowls.

I think the NFL should count their blessings. Not because a player like Colin Kaepernick stood up for injustice, but because the next NFL athlete(s) that decide(s) to protest won’t be so nice about it.