The Winter Of Colin Kaepernick

Phil Rossi
Sep 3, 2017 · 4 min read

I’m sure many Americans support, identify and agree with Colin Kaepernick’s cause. It’s a social problem that needs to be solved. Not to mention a resolution that will make us all better — as people and a society.

But just as the old saying goes, ‘there’s a time and place’. Once you disrespect the American Flag and National Anthem as Kaepernick did, you’ve crossed the line. Americans are very patriotic.

Privately and league-wide, season ticket holders warned their teams not to sign Colin Kaepernick. If they did, these fans would never re-up their seats nor return to the stadium under any condition.

The NFL owners are big-time businessmen. They know how to build and manage product while driving a brand. They also respect the power of paying customers. Any owner who feels Kaepernick is an upgrade at quarterback may never pull the trigger, fearing this threat of backlash.

The cause and effect of this situation may loom too great for Kaepernick and any team that signs him.

There are teams that could use Kaepernick, or at least give him a shot. He’d probably start on the Jets or Jaguars. He’d also be a terrific backup in Dallas or Carolina — the Cowboys and Panthers use mobile quarterback systems.

In Buffalo or Denver, Kaepernick could be a stop gap until their younger qb’s develop. If he were to perform well enough, either team could retain Kaepernick as a backup.

Before they released Brock Osweiler, the Cleveland Browns shopped him around the league to teams in need of a signal caller. Kaepernick still remains a better, more exciting and cheaper option. Especially if the objective is to win football games rather than showing up to play them.

The other question surrounding Kaepernick is his talent, or is it?

League executives have been choosing their words carefully while speaking off the record. Some mentioned Kaepernick’s subpar football acumen and inability to read defenses. Others feel Kaepernick was overrated from the get. Another claimed the backup qb’s already on his roster are better fits than Kaepernick. Nobody believes this.

At Kaepernick’s peak, he was more than just a novelty. The 49ers won the most regular season games combined over three consecutive seasons with Kaepernick as their quarterback. True, San Francisco came up short in Super Bowl XLVII and the following season’s NFC Championship Game. Each thriller decided on the final play — an incomplete pass in the corner of the end zone — by you guessed it, Colin Kaepernick. (In both games, Kaepernick did engineer last-minute drives to get the 49ers goal-to-go and attempt those passes).

Since the 49ers lost both games, it’s easy to dispel Kaepernick as a leader and a winner — essential traits required in elite quarterbacks. And it’s elite qb’s NFL teams are after. They’ve become the white whales of pro football.

The Seattle Seahawks and Kaepernick’s lone audition.

In the spring of 2017, Seattle invited Colin Kaepernick for a tryout and opportunity to be their backup quarterback. A shot to play second-string to starter and Super Bowl champion, Russell Wilson. After the workout, the Seahawks decided not to offer Kaepernick a contract.

Seattle’s statement is both intriguing and revealing: “We decided not to sign Colin Kaepernick, because we feel he’s too gifted to be a backup, and deserves to be a starter.”

Sounds like something an agent would say, not a pro football team. If Seattle felt this way, why didn’t they sign Kaepernick and keep quiet about it?

The CFL may remain Kaepernick’s only alternative.

What would it look like for his cause if Kaepernick decided to leave the country that spawned the problem he cares so deeply about?

I’m not suggesting that Kaepernick is considering the Canadian Football League. But his future in the NFL looks no different than the day he departed San Francisco as an unrestricted free agent — pretty bleak.

If Kaepernick were to sign with an NFL team, every sports and news station would explode.

I think this might be another unwanted distraction. Not only would that team receive 24/7 coverage, they’d be pulled into the debate over Kaepernick’s cause. We all know cable news will flood their telecasts with race-baiting gurus, in-your-face activists and other ‘experts’ — it’s a given.

Then it’s on to who won and who lost. Who’s right, who’s wrong, who should be ashamed and who owes an apology to the ‘offended’. The news networks will bleed this story dry and trash all the NFL teams who didn’t sign Kaepernick, accusing them of bigotry and racism. To this end and fallout, who needs it?

Not the publicity the team owners and NFL are looking for at the start of their season. Kaepernick might be too much of a headache after all. The beleaguered quarterback may be good enough to win, but not good enough for teams to fight this firestorm on his behalf. And that’s where I think the NFL stands on this.

Unless Kaepernick were a lock to push a team over the top and reach the Super Bowl, he’ll most likely remain, dare I say it, taking a knee on the sidelines, unsigned and out of the league.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store