The NFL season kicks off on Thursday, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still an unsigned free agent. The Atlanta chapter of the NAACP would like to see that change.
The group is planning a protest tailgate outside of the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium before the Atlanta Falcons’ first home game on Sept. 17, Yahoo Finance has learned.
To be clear, the national NAACP is not leading the protest, and it is not, as of now, boycotting the league, though it publicly requested a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Aug. 23 to discuss Kaepernick’s status and did not receive any reply. (The NFL did not comment for this story, and the NAACP has no new comment beyond its public Aug. 23 letter.)
The Sept. 17 protest only involves the Atlanta chapter and some additional partners, including the National Action Network, Save Our Selves, and Black Lives Matter Atlanta.
Gerald Griggs, an attorney and the vice president of the NAACP’s Atlanta chapter, says the Sept. 17 protest is in support of the ongoing #BlackOutNFL campaign, which does call for a boycott if Kaepernick does not get a job. The priority? “Get Kaepernick on a team,” Griggs says. The group is starting with the Falcons since it’s the local team, and hopes for a meeting with team owner Arthur Blank. “Otherwise,” Griggs says. “We will protest all year long.”
To be sure, a full boycott of football (which many smaller local groups are planning, but not yet the NAACP) could be extremely damaging to the NFL’s business. But until it’s a boycott, protests are unlikely to move the needle — unless and until the fan backlash targets the league’s corporate sponsors, a list that includes Anheuser-Busch InBev, Ford, McDonald’s, Nationwide, Verizon, and Visa.
Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.