If you have ever been to a major sporting event you know the routine. After you’re done sucking down beers in the parking lot or at a nearby bar, you make your way inside the stadium. Sometimes you make it just in time for the National Anthem. You do your American duty by standing, removing your hat, and listening to the anthem echo through the stadium. You don’t ask questions, you just do it. Its what everyone does and its what you are supposed to do. All of this is true unless your name is Colin Kaepernick.Colin Kaepernick played quarterback for the University of Nevada until he was drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers. In his 6th year with the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick decided to use his platform as a professional football player to bring awareness to the social injustices that were, and are, plaguing our society. In order to gain awareness, Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem before any of his games.
I am not going to lie. When I first heard of Kaepernick’s protest of the National Anthem, I was angry. I am not totally sure why, but it was probably because of the media backlash that Kaepernick was getting. We tend go with the flow as a society and when you hear everywhere that “Kaepernick is un-American”, you start to buy in. But after taking some time to think to myself and not take into account the opinions of others, my tune changed.
Kaepernick was peacefully protesting. He wasn’t killing police officers or burning down buildings, he was taking a knee for two to three minutes at a time. It was shocking to see, because we have never seen anyone do it before, so it took me some time to wrap my mind around this. It doesn’t matter how or where he was raised, he wanted change. I can respect that. This now has led into the offseason and continues to be a hot topic for one reason. Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers after the season and has yet to get another job.
Bullshit Reason Number 1: Well he just isn’t that good of a quarterback.
I have seen this argument tossed around and it boggles my mind that this is actually a reason people give. Again, it is something they see on Sports Center so it must be true. Here are the facts. There have been twelve quarterbacks signed to NFL teams during free agency this year. Four of those twelve were resigned by their old team and include the likes of Kellen Moore and Landry Jones. I will leave them out of this argument since they have special interest to certain teams for one reason or another.
So there were eight quarterbacks who were released, cut, or finished their contracts with one team, and were resigned by another. Those quarterbacks are Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley, Geno Smith, Brian Hoyer, Aaron Murray, Josh McCown, Nick Foles, and Blaine Gabbert. On average, those eight quarterbacks have thrown for 7,315 yards, have a 77.6 quarterback rating, and have a 58.9% completion percentage. On average, those quarterbacks have also thrown for 40 touchdowns and 33 interceptions in their careers. Very mediocre at best. By the way, all of these averages do NOT include Aaron Murray who has never thrown an NFL pass and yet was signed by a new team.
Colin Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards, has an 88.9 quarterback rating, and has a 59.8% completion percentage. To go along with these very respectable numbers, he has thrown for 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. Kapernick has more touchdown passes than all but one of the eight quarterbacks mentioned, has a higher completion percentage than all but one quarterback mentioned, has more yards than all but one quarterback mentioned, and has the highest quarterback rating.
Kaepernick’s numbers are not world beating or hall of fame worthy, but they are far and away better than the eight quarterbacks who have signed new contracts. His accuracy is usually the first thing questioned, and yet, he has the second highest completion percentage among the eight quarterbacks, as I previously mentioned. His completion percentage has also improved since his time in college and he is only 29 years old. This is still a young guy who can improve.
All of these numbers do not even take into account the rushing abilities that Kaepernick brings to the table with his extreme athleticism. So yeah, tell me more about him being a horrible quarterback.
Bullshit Reason Number 2: He is a bad teammate and would ruin a locker room.
Again, this is something you see plastered across social media as well as major sports outlets and could not be further from the truth. After Kaepernick began his peaceful protest, a significant number of other athletes around the league joined him. He wasn’t a lone wolf looking for attention. He was doing something that his peers believed in as well.
Now if that doesn’t convince you that he is not some locker room destroyer this will. After the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick received the Len Eshmont Award, which is given to the player who “best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont.” More telling though is the fact that this is an award that is voted on by Kaepernick’s teammates. Unlike what ESPN and Fox Sports want you to believe, Kaepernick was not a hated teammate who ruined the 49ers. In actuality, he was an inspiration to his teammates and was seen as a courageous man.
Again, tell me more about him being an awful teammate and locker room destroyer.
It is time we as a society look at ourselves in the mirror and start to make informed decisions on our own. We cannot continue to buy the bullshit that ESPN and the NFL are pushing on us about why Colin Kaepernick will never play in the NFL again. Because he won’t. If people like Blain Gabbert and Matt Barkley are getting quarterback jobs before Kapernick, there is something wrong. Kaepernick is 100% being blackballed by the NFL and yet no one will step up and say that is the reason why. I am in no way saying that Kaepernick is a hall of fame quarterback, but he does not deserve the treatment he is getting. All because he took a stand (figuratively of course) and peacefully protested the problems in our society.