Is Kaepernick’s Fate Self-Inflicted?
By Alana Winns
Three months into NFL free-agency, the silent elephant in room has now begun to stampede – Colin Kaepernick, considered by some to be one of the league’s most eligible quarterbacks, still has not been signed.
It’s not unheard of for prominent players to find themselves in NFL limbo, but this predicament has been generating hefty buzz considering it was only four years ago that the former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback helped lead his team to Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens.
Back then he ran for a playoff-record 181 yards and two scores at Green Bay as the 49ers beat the Packers in a divisional playoff game. Today, he waits for a phone call confirming a spot on a team.
Though given his political stance over the past year, including kneeling during the national anthem, some might not be surprised.
Back in March, an anonymous AFC general manager spoke with the Bleacher Report about the politically enthused free agent’s chances of getting picked up by a team, despite his ability to “still play at a high level.”
“The problem is three things are happening with him,” he said. “First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number around 20 percent.”
“Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings,” he continued.
“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”
With the pre-season fast approaching, Scott Ostler at the San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote about Kaepernick’s troubles by summarizing it up as him being “simply lousy at groveling.”
The sports columnist even compared the athlete to Marvin Gaye by writing, “Kaepernick is like Marvin Gaye, a stubborn kind of fella.”
Aside from taking playful jabs, Ostler however did take a career advice approach by wondering why Kaepernick won’t take the recommended steps that have been given to him to assure a league position.
For instance, Ostler cited remarks by John Lynch, the 49ers’ new general manager, who told sports radio station KNBR that he suggested to Kaepernick, as the team was cutting ties, that he make an effort to convey to the NFL that he still has a great desire to play football.
“He makes a compelling case as to how bad he wants to be in the league when you talk to him … and I think that would help him,” Lynch said he told Kaepernick, adding he also suggested he sit down for a public interview.
Ostler raised a bigger question pondering about what politics really have to do with football in the first place and at what point it should take a toll on one’s career.
“Tom Brady rocked a Trump ball cap, and nobody is calling for his job,” he joked.
One thing is for sure, with four weeks away from the start of NFL pre-season, whether Kaepernick finds himself on a 53-man roster or not, he won’t be begging for it.