He has given almost a million dollars over the last 9 months. Spent countless hours for the benefit of others. He’s also, statistically a Top 25 quarterback. So why is he the most unwanted man in the NFL?
He stood outside the Queens, New York Parole office with two worn and beaten Home Depot cardboard boxes. A popular New York DJ embraced him. A non-profit organization’s CEO thanked him, repeatedly. A man in a shirt and tie approached and began to speak passionately about the problems he viewed plaguing our nation. Through it all, the man with the boxes stood there and listened. It was a perfect New York spring day with The Most Dangerous Man in the NFL.
Four years after Colin Kaepernick led the 49ers within a play of winning the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks, on Monday, signed journeyman Austin Davis over the All-Pro to back up Russell Wilson.
“[Kaepernick’s] a starter,” said Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll as to why he chose a player who was RELEASED by the BROWNS two years ago, and was a third string quarterback for the QB-deficient Broncos last year. “And we have a starter,” he went on to say, “but he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”
This isn’t the first time someone used the tried and true break-up line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” A few months ago, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh used the same refrain. It is a departure, however, from the league-wide falsehood stating Kaepernick could no longer play at an NFL-caliber level. So which one is it? Is he not good enough to play or too good?
With Carroll and the Seahawks, not only does this new approach contradict other league personnel, it is in direct opposition with Carroll’s own theories. He is very vocal about his “Always Compete” mentality. No job is safe. Carroll has written books about this. He designated a day for competition, “Competition Wednesdays.” Under Carroll, Matt Flynn signed a 3-year, $26 million deal with $10 million guaranteed. Then drafted Russell Wilson, started Wilson, and finally traded Flynn to the Raiders. Carroll is not alone in the hypocrisy.
Last month, John Mara said the Giants decided not to reach out to Kaepernick because of fan mail. Do the Giants base all their personnel decisions on popularity? Did the Giants not release serial domestic abuser Josh Brown sooner because Giants fans didn’t voice their displeasure loud enough?
The reasonings have come from direct sources and leaks, experts and novices. Those excuses hold up like water in a sieve.
There is no legitimate reason why weaker players are being picked up and signed over Kaepernick. And for what?
On August 14, no one paid much attention to Colin Kaepernick. He was starting the year as the back-up quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. The organization had no idea if Kaepernick would be ready to start. He had surgery on his right thumb and his left knee in January, and left shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in November. Two weeks later, the Super Bowl quarterback’s life would never be the same.
When Kaep made the decision to sit during the anthem in that first preseason game, no one noticed. By the third time, it was international news. People used words like ungrateful, disrespectful, ISIS sympathizer to characterize Kaepernick. While others called him a patriot, a hero, an activist.
Last Summer, Kaepernick pledged to donate $1 million to worthy causes. He has given over $700,000. A few months ago, he raised funds to deliver a plane full of food and water to famine victims in Somalia. Donated countless clothes, suits, shoes and other items to a number of charities. He solely funds a camp designed for children of color to know their rights as Americans and to raise awareness as well as educate.
If this were any other player, the NFL would be rolling out an entire campaign based around his philanthropic endeavors.
As of this writing, however, Kaepernick is not part of the NFL. All the while the league continues to employ child, domestic, and drug abusers. Owners have dealt with federal fraud settlements, drug abuse and sexual abuse scandals. The NFL continues to deny science and the connection between CTE and football. From 2012-2015, the league charged the Department of Defense $6 million to “honor” the military. They say he is too risky despite donating almost a million dollars in less than a year. Those uncomfortable with Kaep using his platform to speak out for the speechless have labeled him a distraction. San Francisco’s most inspirational teammate is now a cancer; a chemistry killer. With subpar talent, this man held a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio but many front office people say he is past his prime and lacking talent.
So ask yourself, why is the NFL and it’s organizations avoiding Kaepernick? Why is a league that has repeatedly pressed talent over morality all of a sudden coming together against one individual? Is what he did that egregious?
Even if you disagree with his protest, this is a league that gave Greg Hardy a second chance after–allegedly–savagely beating his then-girlfriend. Leonard Little and Donte Stallworth both played in the NFL after killing people while drunk.
In a league where its commissioner defended football by saying, “there’s risk sitting on the couch,” it only seems right Kaepernick sitting down was too dangerous a chance to take.