I’m from Seattle, WA. For three NFL seasons it seemed that the NFL universe revolved around the NFC West. The Seahawks had drafted the next great surprise QB Russell Wilson in the 3rd round and the 49ers had lucked into the prototype of tomorrow’s NFL QB, Colin Kaepernick. ESPN’s Ron Jaworski said he thought had the measurable and skills to become the greatest QB ever.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The Seahawks have struggled with complacency the past two seasons, injuries and an offensive line made of tissue paper have played their part as well. The 49ers on the other hand, have fallen into a full on tailspin. Gone is the khaki clad Harbaugh, crazy as a fox, outwitting everyone but his Northwest foe Pete Carroll. Here now is Chip Kelly with his offense that only works when you have a hundred 19 year olds on the sidelines, and John Lynch has now set up shop, ready to exorcise the demons of Trent Baalke.
— 49ers Report (@49ers_fanly) May 19, 2017
This story though is not about the variables that were out of the 49ers control like the early retirement of their defensive stalwarts, or the unplanned departure of their head coach. This is about the player they could have invested in, the player they could have tried to support, who is now out of a job, for reasons that seem to fall off the field.
Colin Kaepernick is not an elite quarterback anymore. For two seasons, he was on the rise. Back then I would have told you that the 49ers and Seahawks would compete for the top of the NFC for the next decade, something that would have been great for football. Instead Harbaugh left, they found a random guy that was lost but happened to be holding a clipboard at a men’s urinal named Jim Tomsula and decided, what the hell? Let him run one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.
“Jim Tomsula looks like the manager of struggling Little Caesar’s franchise.” – Dan LeBatard
— Dante Burch (@DanteBurch) October 23, 2015
Then Kaepernick got injured, he lost weight, and maybe those things played a part in what is happening now. The league seemed to figure out the read option, and maybe that’s why this is happening, it’s happening to RGIII too.
Unfortunately, what I think is happening is an actual black balling of a player for standing up for a cause he believes in, a cause the NFL would prefer to ignore completely.
Ryan Fitzpatrick signed before Colin Kaepernick really? The NFL not blackballing him though? pic.twitter.com/XVBR4QVqLy
— brandon humble (@playb0y52) May 19, 2017
Whether you agreed with Kaepernick while he chose to kneel during the National Anthem or not, you have to agree it took courage, especially considering the consequences. It took courage to try and make a point in that fashion, and considering the community outreach he has performed over the past couple of years, it’s hard to poke holes in his sincerity.
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2016: 12 TDs, 17 INTs, $3MIL in 2017
Colin Kaepernick 2016: 16 TDs, 4 INTs, Unemployed in 2017.
Let’s stop pretending.
— Exavier Pope (@exavierpope) May 19, 2017
Now Kaepernick finds himself a man without a nation. Nobody wants him on their roster because of the so-called distraction he presents. Not even a Bengals team that is OK with a Joe Mixon distraction. Not even a Patriots team that was OK with a Michael Floyd distraction. Not a Cowboys team that was OK with a Greg Hardy distraction.
I can find a distraction on all 32 teams, but I think you get the point.
Kaepernick started a dialogue last season, a dialogue I believe is important, and one that we’re seeing all over our country. Maybe if he didn’t have braids or an afro, or maybe if his arms weren’t covered in tattoos, or maybe if he talked more like Tom Brady, maybe then we would have listened. Maybe then we wouldn’t have told him to shut up and stay in his place. Maybe then he’d be playing football instead of watching from the outside while Mike Glennon gets paid, and Christian Hackenberg gets reps at starting QB. Maybe then he’d be playing while Blake Bortles got another chance to throw interceptions and the Cleveland Browns found another half a dozen QB’s to throw onto the field this year.
Kaepernick is an outstanding athlete, and he has proven, twice, that he can lead your team deep into the playoffs with the right system and the right pieces around him. That’s more than a lot of QB’s in this league can say.
For Kaepernick’s sake I hope somebody puts this man on their team, because at the end of the day, even if he doesn’t play a down of football for you, he appears to be a man that leaves great marks on his community and cares for his fellow human being, and for that he deserves a chance at a job.