It’s been almost two weeks since the NFL Draft, and Colin Kaepernick still does not have a job in the National Football League.
Keeping in mind that he underwent offseason shoulder surgery before the 2016 season, Kaepernick played in twelve games. He ended the season with 2,241 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, four interceptions, 468 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. According to NFL analyst Cian Fahey, Kaepernick is one of the more accurate passers in the NFL and the wide receivers on last year’s 2-win San Francisco 49ers squad dropped a lot of catchable passes.
Interceptable pass rate: 2.11% (2nd in NFL)
Accuracy: 74.92% (14th)
Receptions lost to receiver error: 11.78% (1st)
— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) March 17, 2017
So why doesn’t Kaepernick have a job in the NFL? Well, the popular theory is that he is getting “blackballed” from the NFL for not standing during the playing of the national anthem before each game. There is certainly evidence that this is the case.
Fans burned his jersey.
Former NFL quarterbacks referred to his actions as “an embarrassment.”
Anonymous NFL executives have called him “a traitor.”
He got blamed for the NFL’s drop in ratings. Guess who?
At a rally in Colorado, Donald Trump says politics and Colin Kaepernick are the reason for NFL ratings drop https://t.co/yTGaiSNZuk
— CNN (@CNN) October 30, 2016
He’s also received death threats, for what that is worth.
So Kaepernick is getting blackballed… right?
A few weeks ago, Tim Kawakami of the San José Mercury News said that his line of blackball demarcation was Kaepernick’s former teammate – quarterback Blaine Gabbert. In other words, if Gabbert got an NFL job before Kaepernick, then we need to start asking some serious questions about whether the NFL is blackballing Kaepernick.
Not disagreeing, generally. But there's a line somewhere–and I've put it at Gabbert getting a job over Kaepernick–that screams hypocrisy. https://t.co/oaceQrn7GR
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) March 21, 2017
Well, Gabbert just got a job with the Arizona Cardinals. Keep in mind that Gabbert lost his starting quarterback job last season to Kaepernick after five games and finished the season with five touchdowns and six interceptions.
“Kaepernick is not in football shape.”
Apparently, he’s back up to “2013 playing weight” of 230 pounds. So clearly, his vegan diet is affecting his muscle mass, right?
“Kaepernick wants too much money.”
This is false because he has not even had one meeting with an NFL team. He’s not demanding $9 to $10 million per season, which is popular theory among NFL circles. Yesterday on ESPN’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, The Nation‘s Dave Zirin said this about Kaepernick’s “demands”:
None of that is true. I spoke to Kaepernick and what he said was that he was training every day. He’s in the best shape of his life, he loves football, he wants to play, and then I spoke to people around Kaepernick… and they said to me that they have gotten no calls… You’re talking about a total ghosting of Colin Kaepernick… He’s asking for an invite to [training] camp and he’s asking for a sit-down and a meeting. We’re talking the most barebones level. He’s asking for some kind of engagement with the National Football League and the chance to play quarterback in the National Football League and that is not being offered to him.
So NFL executives are willing to call and see what Gabbert wants as opposed to Kaepernick? Interesting.
Well, let’s pump the brakes for a second.
Based on the evidence above, it is certainly fair to question whether Kaepernick is being blackballed. However, it’s hard to say that in a definitive statement because the concept of “blackball” is very difficult to prove.
Here is the more important question:
Why are people so confident that Kaepernick is not getting blackballed?
It’s important to point out that “quarterback” is the scarcest position in all of sports. It’s very difficult to find a decent quarterback, let alone a good to great quarterback. It’s crazy to think that an NFL team won’t even have a meeting with a quarterback who has played in the Super Bowl and has won multiple playoff games.
“Kaepernick is not good anymore. He doesn’t fit in many NFL offenses.”
How many systems does Gabbert fit?
More importantly, how many systems did Michael Vick fit? From 2009 to 2015, three different NFL teams signed Vick to back up their current starting quarterback. So a team wouldn’t have to change their system to accommodate Vick, a mobile quarterback who was on the verge of getting run out of the NFL before getting sent to prison?
Even if there is no concerted effort by the NFL to keep Kaepernick out of the league, how can anyone say that the issue is not related to the national anthem or the work he does to advance the cause of marginalized people in the United States?
“Signing Kaepernick would be bad public relations.”
So is this bad PR?
Wouldn’t our country be a lot better if people who got out jail could find jobs? If those people do not have jobs, what do you think is most likely to happen?
The work that Kaepernick is doing is worthy of the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Is this the bad public relations?
Or what about this:
There was zero distraction. He met with the team immediately after [his first protest]. He met with the other team leaders. He explained his position and where he was coming from. And literally, that was it. Colin was focused on football. He was all about the team and trying to help us win.
It seems like there were not any problems with Kaepernick.
So what is the “bad PR?”
Here’s another important question – do you think Kaepernick provides bad PR for black people?
The point being, this bad PR is another way of saying that, “We are scared that white people will not tolerate Kapernick’s presence.”
White fans in Philadelphia sure got over Vick and his dogfighting scandal. The Cincinnati Bengals sure got over Joe Mixon punching a woman back in the 2014.
It seemed like fans in San Francisco were tolerant of Kaepernick. Granted, the Bay Area is a bit more liberal than other places, but it’s not like the population isn’t majority-white.
This “intolerance” of Kapernick is not bad PR. It is fear that people are too racist to deal with Kaepernick and his views, which is likely not true. There is no way that all the charity work he has done is bad PR.
Again, it is difficult to definitely say that the NFL is blackballing Colin Kaepernick. On the other hand, no one can definitively say that he is not getting blackballed either.