In the wake of the NFL controversy, I caught up with Wolf to get his take on the backlash. “The NFL protests have been one of the most harmful things to happen to the movement [to forge a consensus about police abuse], in my opinion,” he told me. “It’s one thing for the players to say they aren’t protesting the anthem or the flag itself, but it’s pretty foolhardy of them to expect Joe Q. Public not to perceive it that way.”
Conservative reformers are frequently pushed in this unenviable position. Just as Barack Obama poisoned the well for advocates of conservative immigration reform to advance their cause by unilaterally issuing his DACA order, Kaepernick complicates matters for conservatives who have been pushing issues like criminal justice reform (which includes a myriad of systemic or structural issues, many of which unfairly and disproportionately affect the black community) for years.