I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with Steve Bisciotti on several occasions to talk about things ranging from golf to orange crushes to his days at Aerotek to The Beatles.
I’m a big fan.
I’m a fan of the person he is, the way he thinks, his honesty and the way he runs his organization. When Bisciotti decided to buy the Ravens the city of Baltimore won. The town has a football owner who knows how to win. That’s how self-made billionaires are wired. They figure out how to win.
But this Colin Kaepernick thing is a real head-scratcher.
And on this polarizing topic, he’s losing. And he’s asking for prayers.
I don’t mind that Steve wanted to consult with Ray Lewis about the possibility of signing Kaepernick. He’s done it in the past and achieved desired results. A case in point – the decision to fire Brian Billick, leading to the hiring of the more successful John Harbaugh.
But those consultations were in private. Why make this one public? To take the pulse of the fans? An NFL executive once told me, “The minute we start to listen to the advice of fans is the minute we begin to fail.”
Now, talking heads like CBS Sports Radio’s Damon Amendolara are railing in on Bisciotti, saying “How stupid you look!” He’s essentially lumping Bisciotti in with a few other knucklehead owners like Jim Irsay, Jimmy Haslam and Dan Snyder. Take a listen below.
Look, I know Amendolara is off base with Bisciotti. Maybe you do too. But this Kaepernick train wreck is derailing the reputation of the entire organization while shining the light, once again, on the bumbling way they handled the Ray Rice incident.
Bomani Jones brings up a good point in his podcast today about the alleged police brutality by the Baltimore City Police force in Freddy Gray’s death. We know that those accused were exonerated but ill-will still exists on both sides of the polarizing topic. The court of popular opinion differs based on where in the spectrum of socio-economic neighborhoods the court resides.
But as Jones alludes to, the Ravens, the team that represents Baltimore play is one of the cities that has a reputation, deserved or not, for police brutality – the very thing that Kaepernick justly protests.
Sure, you may question the forms of protest that Kaepernick has chosen – I do too. But it’s his right to protest just as it is yours to criticize his methodology.
Did the Ravens consider Baltimore’s socio-political climate when discussing Kaepernick? One would hope that they did, but again, the overarching problem here, is that in an effort to be transparent, they’ve opened up their decision-making process to the world, inviting scorn and ridicule from parties on both sides of the Kaepernick argument.
They’ve also managed to alienate a third group of people, those Ravens fans who only care about Kaepernick to the extent that he can or can’t help the team win football games (likely the ‘silent majority’ in this case).
It’s time that the Ravens stop publicly waffling on this issue.
It’s time that they trust their football people to make football moves, as they always have.
It’s time to put up (the money for Kaepernick’s contract) or shut up (about the whole thing).
It’s time that they stop looking stupid.
UPDATE (2:55 PM)
The hits keep coming. This from Around The Horn (start at the 4:28 mark)
P.S. Thanks for the heads up Rickey Ricardo!