The curious case of Colin Kaepernick
One of these quarterbacks is not like the others: Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, Josh Mccown, Matt Barkley and Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick is the only one listed that has led his team to a Super Bowl. He is the only one who started more than half of his team’s games in 2016, and the only one to have thrown double-digit touchdowns. He is also the only one of these quarterbacks who is unemployed as of April 3, 2017.
Kaepernick captivated both the sports and political worlds last season by taking a knee during national anthems in protest of racial injustice. People were angry at him for wanting black people to be treated fairly by the police, so much so that they called him terrible names, booed him at games and sent him death threats.
He held strong to his cause as he donated millions of dollars to racial injustice organizations and continued to kneel week after week, no matter what was said about him in the media.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract after the season and is still waiting to get a call from a team.
Kaepernick opposers feel he simply isn’t a good quarterback anymore, pointing to factors such as his low, 59.8 completion percentage and 3-16 record the past two seasons.
It’s important to remember Kaepernick was recovering from two surgeries during the 2016 off-season, and was gradually regaining his strength and weight as the season progressed. Kaepernick also played in one of the the most talentless offensive teams in the NFL.
Despite a shaky offensive line, bad coaching and a receiving core that couldn’t catch a cold, Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns to only four interceptions, posting a passer rating of 90.7.
Stop pretending Kaepernick is some scrub who should play in the Canadian Football League. I’m not saying Kaepernick is an elite quarterback, or even a top 15 quarterback, but the fact that he can’t even get a look as a backup tells us all we need to know about the NFL.
“Any team that says Kaepernick is a distraction in the locker room or that he lacks strength and stamina because he’s a vegan or that he can’t read defenses, are all throwing smoke screens to avoid what they really think,” SF State race, sports and society professor Larry Solomon said. “I just wish one of the owners or general managers would have the guts to say it.”
The biggest cop-out regarding the Kaepernick opposition is the notion he will be a “distraction.” According to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, the quarterback plans to stand for the anthem next year because he believes his protest last season was successful and positive changes have happened in America since.
Just getting people to talk about why Kaepernick was kneeling was already a major step in his goal.
Despite the “distraction” Kaepernick caused, his teammates gave him the Len Eshmont Award, which is a yearly honor given to the teammate that most exemplifies courageous and inspirational play.
Just last week, Niners coach from last season Chip Kelly told SI.com that Kaepernick wasn’t a distraction and that there is “no doubt” that he is one of the best 64 quarterbacks in the world.
Mike Glennon hasn’t started a game since 2014, but in March he signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Chicago Bears. Josh Mccown, an aging quarterback coming off a season where he threw six touchdowns and six interceptions before injury, signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets this offseason, and is expected to compete for their starting quarterback position. Matt Barkley threw 14 interceptions to eight touchdowns last year, signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers and could very well end up being Kaepernick’s replacement in San Francisco.
How are all these terrible quarterbacks getting short-term deals while Kaepernick is at home twiddling his thumbs?
We know the NFL owners weren’t big fans of his protest. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones even ordered his players to stand during the anthem. But this is obvious blackballing from the NFL owners and they have to stop bullshitting the public and hiding behind mirrors of Kaepernick’s play or his veganism as an explanation.
As our president, who publicly claimed he was responsible for Kaepernick’s unemployment would say, that’s fake news.