This isn’t being written for the sake of shock-horror: Colin Kaepernick is probably a better employee than at least one quarterback that your own team has rostered – but him getting a job is now of secondary importance.
The list will come later, before you jump to the defence of your beloved signal-caller. The above is not a political statement – some of those, again, will come later – it’s merely an opinion and one I can back up.
But for now, you have to realise that politics and sport are one-in-another. They’re not always carried out in ill-taste as we saw in Kosovo the other night.
Colin Kaepernick’s failure to stand for the national anthem is still a contentious issue for the National Football League. Unless you’re in a staunch Liberal stronghold, of which there aren’t many in those 50 states, you’re going to get some aggro from the signing of one CK7.
This is the stumbling block that most can’t get over. But this entire charade seems like exactly that. The workout got traction and its connection to the NFL is no coincidence – the league were trying to show that they’re facilitating a player to try and get back into the league they govern.
When once there were next to no excuses, subjectivity can now be cited as reasons for teams not to sign one of the most widely-recognised figures in world sport. That legacy is hard to maintain when you haven’t competitively thrown a football in three years, but somehow he has it.
Kaepernick showed his arm strength in the workout. Brett Favre could still do it – he’s not going to be signed anytime soon. What he didn’t show was his deteriorating physical condition. That’s not to say he isn’t NFL-fit. It’s merely saying he’s not NFL-sharp and that’s an easy difference to spot – and an even easier assumption to make.
Whatever the reason is for a team not signing Colin Kaepernick, it’s no longer important because there are many excuses that can be given now. For example, the NFL is gone more mobile-friendly while Kaepernick has lost a yard of pace. He’s out of tune with playbooks. All of these reasons don’t lend to an unfair dismissal case. Well, in this regard, a fabled, hypothetical unfair refusal to employ case. Sometimes PR is harder to part with than cash, after all.
Update: spoke with numerous sources today to clarify some points: Kaepernick team heard from the NFL on Tuesday, 11/12 and was told of Saturday’s workout. They weren't given 36 hours to consider the offer. They were given two, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Take it or leave it.
— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) November 19, 2019
But there is one thing that Kaepernick now has in abundance that countless don’t – experience at reading an NFL defence.
Right now, the quarterback situations at the following would all benefit from his experience: Arizona; Baltimore; Buffalo; Carolina; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Denver; Detroit; Jacksonville; New York; Pittsburgh; San Francisco; Tampa Bay; Tennessee and Washington.
I am not saying for a split second that Kaepernick can start at those teams. Sure, he might be a better option than Mason Rudolph and Brandon Allen right now, but that’s only a tiny portion of the league.
Where he could lend a hand there is either as a backup who can explain how to make the most of a read-option heavy offence like in Carolina, or as a complementary mind to young signal-callers who are struggling with their pro reads like Kyler Murray.
He has a bigger arm than almost any backup in the National Football League too, and when teams spend draft capital solely on that trait, you’ll struggle to actually change my mind that his exclusion from the league is anything to do with footballing ability now.
I am in no doubt that Kaepernick is worthy of a job in this league now. But I no longer think it’s relevant. He does not need the money and nobody else needs the false smile that the league is putting on to change public perception of their alleged stance on the player.
Him getting a role is such a small detail when you compare it to the movement that has stemmed from his prolonged unemployment. He might be actively seeking a job, but in my book, his job is done already.
Colin Kaepernick transcends a league that would limit him and signing with a team now is merely a sequel to his powerful stand against injustice.
The time to take a stance on an issue far more important than football has passed. Everything from here is just noise.