On Cue: Calls for Kaepernick to save the NFL
The calls are coming in, right on cue, for the NFL to solve the world’s ills by hiring Colin Kaepernick to quarterback a team– any NFL team.
Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) added to the chorus today by saying that the New England Patriots, which lost HOF quarterback Tom Brady over the offseason, should sign Kaepernick to address their signal-caller concerns.
“The NFL should apologize to Colin Kaepernick and the Patriots should sign him,” tweeted Kennedy.
Kaepernick, 32, last played in 2016. The protest that saw him kneeling during the national anthem to call out police brutality against black men drew the ire of fans as it spread throughout the NFL in 2016 and 2017.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract and became a free agent after the 2016 season. He remains unsigned.
With the George Floyd protests, the calls for bringing back Kap have accelerated.
Reverend Al Sharpton, Golden State coach Steve Kerr, Players’ Coalition co-founder Malcolm Jenkins and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan are amongst an avalanche of celebrities calling for the NFL to sign Kaepernick.
Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com, a kind of left-wing mouthpiece for players and agents, says that Kaepernick is ready to go.
“Per a source with knowledge of the situation,” says Florio, “Kaepernick is in great shape, and he wants to play. And he is ‘more motivated to play than ever’ to the NFL.”
Florio usually has a direct line to players, so his source is probably Kaepernick himself.
The landmines, however, for both the NFL and Kaepernick, would be plentiful.
Kaepernick offended many fans by his rhetoric and by wearing t-shirts emblazoned with notorious Communists, like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, to press conferences.
In an organization, like the NFL, which makes money by packaging players to fans, it’s a tough sell to package an avowed communist. A communist in America, even today, offends more people than he attracts.
NFL teams also have to worry about how committed Kaepernick is to football.
Last year the NFL arranged a private tryout for Kaepernick to showcase his talent for NFL scouts. But the tryout fell apart when it seemed it was more about lawyers than about football.
“The NFL had arranged the tryout at the Atlanta Falcons training facility,” reported Reuters mildly, “but at the last minute the quarterback’s representatives moved the workout to a high school stadium.”
There followed days of public finger-pointing by NFL insiders and Team Kaepernick, both sides blaming the other.
Then there’s the question of Kaepernick’s desire to play again, despite insider protestations that he’s ready-to-go. He’d most likely be offered a role as a back-up.
“I think an NFL team like Seattle should offer Colin Kaepernick a backup contract,” said Clay Travis, a Fox radio analyst, “but I think he would turn it down. He knows as soon as he signs a contract and stands on the sideline all of his martyrdom will be over.”
It’s likely better for both sides to squabble than it is actually do something, and that’s probably the best explanation why Kaepernick remains sidelined.
The parties that could make it happen, the NFL and Kaepernick, really don’t want it to happen.
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