Kaepernick, Reid Settle Collusion Case Against NFL

By Malcolm Speaks

Eric Reid (left) and Colin Kaepernick were two of the first NFL players to kneel during the anthem, settled their collusion case against the league.

Eric Reid (left) and Colin Kaepernick were two of the first NFL players to kneel during the anthem. They recently settled their collusion case against the league.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the NFL on Friday in their joint collusion complaint against the league. Sources declined to offer specifics for the decision.

Attorneys representing Colin Kaepernick, Reid, and the NFL released a statement Friday saying the matter had been resolved confidentially. As part of that confidentiality, it is believed both sides signed a non-disclosure agreement agreeing not to speak publicly about details of the case or settlement.

The settlement came just before the final hearing in the case, which was set to take place before arbitrator Stephen Burbank later this month. The grounds of the grievance was collusion on the part of the NFL to keep Kaepernick and Reid out of the league after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 in protest of police killings of people of color and racial injustice in the US. Many NFL players and at one point even coaches and owners also joined this league-wide protest in 2017.

Colin Kaepernick made the following statement on his rationale for protesting: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.” He continued, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In response to the protests, President Donald Trump made divisive statements that discouraged the resolution of differences between NFL players and owners. As a result, the league instituted a rule that banned protests during the US national anthem. However, the NFL clearly rescinded the rule and Eric Reid, one of the first players to kneel with Colin Kaepernick, continued to kneel during the anthem even after Mr. Kaepernick was not signed to a team following the 2017 season.

Reid, one of the league’s top safeties, became a free agent after the 2018 season and remained unsigned for six months before he was finally signed by the Carolina Panthers this past September.

LeBron James, one of Colin Kaepernick’s biggest supporters, warmly welcomed news of the settlement: “It’s important to stick up for what you believe in, you know what I’m saying? I stand with Kaep. I kneel with Kaep,” James said. “I just feel what he was talking about, nobody wanted to listen to him. Nobody ever really wanted to actually understand where he was coming from. I think that anybody that will sacrifice their livelihood for the better of all of us, I can respect that. And he’s done that. You’ve got a guy who basically lost his job because he wanted to stand for something that was bigger than just him.”

“I’m happy to see the news come out yesterday that he won his suit,” James added. “I hope it’s a hell of a lot of money that can set not only him up but set his family up, set his grandkids up for the rest of their lives. I hope that the word of what he did will live on throughout American history but also world history because it’s important for all of us, not only African-Americans but for everybody that wants to stand up for something that’s more important than them.”

These sentiments were shared by members of the Black press. Jemele Hill, staff write for The Atlantic and former anchor of ESPN Sportscenter, summed up the thoughts of many with her direct article title, “Kaepernick Won. The NFL Lost.”

Prosecutors Seek New Sentence for Van Dyke

By Malcolm Speaks

Jason Van Dyke who killed Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald by shooting him 16 times was sentenced Friday.

Prosecutors look to give former Chicago officer Van Dyke a stiffer sentence for murdering teenager Laquan McDonald.

The Illinois Attorney General, Kwame Raoul, asked the state’s highest court on Monday to review what prosecutors consider to be too lenient a sentence for the White Chicago police officer who murdered a Black teenager.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, 40, was sentenced last month to only six years and nine months in prison for second-degree murder for shooting and killing 17 year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul and the special prosecutor who won the conviction against Van Dyke said they believe Judge Vincent Gaughan did not properly apply the law when he sentenced the former police officer.

Because Illinois allows some murder convicts to serve only half their sentences, former officer Van Dyke, who has already served several months, may only need to serve three years in prison.

In a rare move, Attorney General Raoul and Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon filed a request with the Illinois Supreme Court seeking an order that would send the case back to Judge Gaughan for a new sentence.

“This is a question of the law,” Attorney General Raoul said.

“And it is in the interest of justice that the law be followed no matter who the defendant and no matter who the victim is in a particular case.”

Officer Van Dyke fatally shot and killed Laquan on October 20, 2014, after responding to a call about a teenager breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard.

Other officers backed officer Van Dyke’s claim that Laquan was holding a small knife with its blade folded and therefore posed a threat to officer Van Dyke’s life.

The officer fired 16 shots at Laquan during the shooting, including after the 17-year-old’s body hit the ground.

Country-wide outrage and protests broke out after a police dashboard camera video showing McDonald being repeatedly shot was released, only after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed more than a year after the shooting.

Following the ruling last month, McDonald family members and activists noted that the sentence is too lenient and officer Van Dyke’s lawyer said that his client “felt great”.

Van Dyke could have received up to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder and up to 30 years for each of the 16 counts of aggravated battery – one count for each shot he fired at McDonald.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Gaughan said that he did not sentence the officer for the aggravated battery conviction because second-degree murder was the more serious crime. However, the aggravated battery charges would have required the officer to spend more time in prison. For that matter, officer Van Dyke is even appealing the second-degree murder conviction.

Report: Major Disparities in College Contributions

By Free Radical

Bennett College was recently saved from being closed by raising more than $8 million. This amount is miniscule to some of the nation's wealthest colleges.

Bennett College was recently saved from closure by raising more than $8 million. This amount is miniscule to some of the nation’s wealthest colleges.

As growing wealth inequality has been an ever-present feature of American society, the nation’s higher education system has followed this pattern.

New data from the Voluntary Support for Education Survey, published by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, show that twenty colleges account for 28% of all higher education donations. Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia all raked in over $1 billion, though collectively they only educate less than twenty thousand students.

The level of altruistic inequality was magnified as Bennett College, an all-women’s HBCU in Greensboro, North Carolina, had to recently launch a massive campaign to raise $5 million dollars just to keep its doors open. Though Bennett’s ability to raise more than $8 million was widely celebrated, even this amount is mere crumbs compared to the endowments of America’s richest universities.

“Large charitable donations to the richest schools is essentially the endpoint of a cycle that rewards wealth every step along the way,” said Ben Miller, the senior director of Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress.

A small cohort of select universities often draws its enrollment largely from the nation’s wealthiest families. Graduates have access to some of the most lucrative jobs in the world. They in turn have the resources to make disproportionately large donations to their alma maters. To some critics, it can often be a closed system.

Some, however, argue that huge donations to select colleges can have a trickle-down effect in society as these institutions are responsible for cutting edge research developments that extend beyond their campuses. Jonathan Meer, an economist at Texas A&M University considered, “If let’s say three decades from now [a major donation] leads to a cure for malaria or cancer treatment with a three-day course of pills, I think it would be very difficult to argue that that money maybe should have gone to a more immediate cause.”

Nonetheless, if only these universities continue to receive the lion’s share of donations, other institutions will never have the chance to make similar discoveries and their student bodies, who tend to be much more diverse, will remain a rich source of potential that is largely untapped.

Cubs Ownership Tied to Racist Emails

By Free Radical

Joe Ricketts the patriarch of the Cubs ownership group has landed in hot water for racist statements.

Joe Ricketts the patriarch of the Cubs ownership group has found himself in hot water for racist statements.

The MLB Chicago Cubs team has commenced major damage control after racist statements made by the ownership family patriarch Joe Ricketts leaked. Earlier last week, news outlet Splinter published emails by Ricketts that espoused racist and Islamaphobic views.

Joe Ricketts amassed much of his wealth as chairman of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade which allowed him to purchase a controlling majority of the Cubs in 2009. The family claims Joe does not manage the baseball club’s day to day operations which are handled by his children. However, the emails show that Joe still in many ways has his finger on the pulse of the organization.

Other contents of Ricketts’s emails were more harrowing. From 2009 to 2013, he exchanged emails that claimed that former President Barack Obama was a Muslim who was born outside of the United States. His affinity for other conspiracies is no surprise as he is a strong ally of current President Donald Trump.

In 2012, Ricketts attempted to derail Obama’s re-election campaign by financially backing an effort to further link Obama with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. The revelations reportedly incensed current Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, which led to the pulling of public funding from proposed renovations of the Cubs’ stadium.

The most recent email revelation also shows Ricketts writing that “Muslims are naturally my enemy.”

In response to palpable public outrage, Ricketts wrote on his website that “I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails.”

His son, Tom Ricketts who serves as chairman of the Cubs expressed “Let me be clear: The language and views expressed in those emails have no place in our society.”

The men of the Ricketts family are knee deep in Republican politics. On the Cubs board are Joe’s sons Pete, the Republican governor of Nebraska, and Todd, who is the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

However, Ricketts’s daughter Lindsay has been a major contributor to the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.