Colin Kaepernick's Rocky Road
You all know the story of Colin Kaepernick. In 2016, Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem of a preseason game while he was firmly in place of a starting role, just four years removed from a Super Bowl appearance.
But by the end of the season, he was out of a job and was blacklisted by the entire league.
While there is some debate as to whether he was blacklisted or was just not good enough to play for another team, his stats don’t indicate a player bad enough to not even get a backup role. In fact, YouTuber Jon Bois made a video debunking this argument back in November of 2017. You can watch that here. (Side note: please ignore Bois’ idiotic remark about Aaron Rodgers being the greatest quarterback of all time. I promise the rest of his logic is sound)
Now, with the state of our country having wildly changed since his eviction from the league, there have been many reports about NFL teams interested in signing Colin Kaepernick. Three years ago, two years ago, even a few months ago, I would have been ecstatic to hear that news. He’s deserved his shot for three years and it’s time for him to get back in the game.
But I can’t help but think that it’s too late. The damage has been done, and any involvement that teams are trying to have with Kaepernick now is just a PR stunt.
Deshone Kizer, Tom Savage, Brett Hundley, Luke Falk, and Brian Hoyer are just a few of the many (subpar) quarterbacks who have had a chance to start since Kaepernick has been blacklisted. Can you really tell me that any of them are better quarterbacks than him? You can’t! Teams are not interested in signing him now because he is a better option than other players; he’s been a better option for three years now. They’re signing him because it will make them look good.
Of course I want to see Kaepernick back in the league. He deserves another shot to play, even if it’s just as a backup. But not like this. Not for the sole sake of popularity and taking advantage of the Black Lives Matter movement. Not to make their team look more diverse and inclusive. If a team is going to sign him, they should be signing him because he’s a better quarterback.
There have been some teams since 2016 that wanted to sign him but were afraid of the public backlash if they did. But let’s be honest here: that’s ridiculous. If you care more about making money than having the best possible team, you’re a terrible owner/coach/GM.
The 2017 Browns went 0-16. The 2019 Dolphins started Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen and won five games. Imagine how many more they could have won if they started a legitimate player at quarterback.
The NFL treated Kaepernick terribly, the 49ers sent him out unfairly, and he wasn’t signed when he would have made a good choice then. So why now?
Plus, Kaepernick getting signed could actually be detrimental to him. At age 32, more than three years removed from his last game, he is not going to be as good as he would have been if a team had signed him in 2017. If he goes back and plays terribly, then he loses a lot of the defense he had. If he looks bad, people will be able to say that he should have remained unsigned because he wasn’t good enough.
The point is, the NFL just doesn’t deserve Kaepernick anymore. Players and coaches this season are going to be kneeling during the national anthem with no punishment (note: I’m not saying there should be a punishment for kneeling; I think kneeling is the right thing to do. I’m just noting how he was punished). Some team is going to sign him and whoever it is will be showered with compliments of being “progressive” and “inclusive”.
But it’s three years too late.