Does Colin Kaepernick deserve a second chance? | The Tylt
Does Colin Kaepernick deserve a second chance?
Kaepernick became a lightning rod for controversy last season, after his national anthem protest sparked similar protests by athletes across the country. Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem because he wasn't okay with being forced to "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color." It was a move that many fans, players and analysts denounced as "disrespectful." It was also a stance that garnered a lot of sympathy with people of color.
The NFL is about whether or not you can ball, and Kaepernick has certainly put up better numbers than most quarterbacks during the past five years (even with injuries and down seasons). He had a pretty good season last year, throwing only four picks to 16 touchdowns. Plus, he's still relatively young at just 29-years-old. Is it fair to "blackball" Kaepernick for purely political reasons, or does he deserve a second shot on another team?
Is Kaepernick not qualified to play quarterback in the N.F.L. anymore? Or is it something else? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Some skeptical fans are wondering if the quarterbacks who have landed jobs with teams have one significant asset that Kaepernick does not have: They all stood for the national anthem last season. Kaepernick knelt in protest against racism and police brutality. That decision was unpopular with a segment of N.F.L. fans, and perhaps a larger segment of traditionally conservative N.F.L. owners. It even drew a rebuke from Donald J. Trump when he was a presidential candidate and later as president.
Let's be honest, this is about a Black athlete speaking out and making a large segment of America uncomfortable. This was a silent protest. It didn't stop a game or disrupt traffic. Kaepernick has donated millions of dollars to communities in need and programs like Meals on Wheels. He has backed up his political opinions with his paycheck, and has done more for disenfranchised Americans than most athletes.
Kaepernick should be measured by his performance on the field. No, he's not a top 10 quarterback, but he is good enough to start for many teams and certainly good enough to play backup for almost every team. This is a guy that can still perform at a high level in the right system, who doesn't throw a lot of interceptions, and is a commanding presence in the locker room.
In an offseason where mediocre quarterbacks have made millions in free agency, Kaepernick's ongoing unemployment is bizarre. 37-year-old Josh McCown just signed a $6 million deal with the Jets. He's played a full season just once in his career. Chicago just paid Mike Glennon $43.5 million to play quarterback, and he's never been a starter. He's just two years younger than Kaepernick.
How does that math work? Elite Daily's Joseph Milord writes:
The fact that Kaepernick is, at the very worst, just as good as a player who got $16 million (based on performance from two years ago), makes it clear what’s going on.
Many people, including President Trump, saw Kaepernick's protest as disrespectful to the flag and the people who died to protect that flag. Yes, Kaepernick is entitled to free speech, but he's not entitled to a job. Free speech has consequences. Kaepernick's protest likely led to a significant drop in TV ratings for the NFL, which means Kaepernick financially hurt his peers and his employer.
Kaepernick isn't good enough to put up with the baggage he brings to a NFL franchise. He fell off dramatically after his back-to-back NFC Championship games, created drama on the field and alienated a huge chunk of fans. Some detractors believe teams aren't being racist, they're merely engaging in customer service—fans don't want him. Why would you hire a mediocre quarterback to big money and anger your paying customers? That's a recipe for disaster.
That's especially the case when you consider that of the 32 NFL teams, Donald Trump won the state they're located in for 19 of them... So if you're an NFL owner, do you really want to add a mediocre quarterback that divides your fan base politically? Hell, if Colin Kaepernick hadn't played in San Franciso, the most liberal NFL city in America, he probably would have been cut before the season even started.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Keep in mind that the people in the seats in most NFL stadiums voted for Donald Trump for president. Football fans are conservative by nature. Trump won every SEC and Big 12 state and won every traditional Big Ten state except for Illinois and Minnesota. The central part of the country, where football is the most popular, is Trump country. So if you're going to make a political statement that the vast majority of your fan base doesn't support, you'd better be damn good at your job.
Colin Kaepernick used his right to free speech in a way that offended and disgusted a huge chuck of our country. He insulted and offended our military members that are out there fighting to protect his freedom. Go figure, that General Managers don’t want to touch him. It’s the simple concept that people don’t get about free speech. You can say whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.