Monday, August 7, 2017

Freedom to Sit Out

At a time of year when ESPN is usually breaking down the battle for the third tight end positions in every team's training camp, the main topic of discussion this year is a player that is currently not on any NFL roster.  "Why hasn't anyone signed Colin Kaepernick?" is topic 1A for all of the network's "People yelling at each other" shows every day.  And the general consensus is that Kaepernick has not been signed by anyone--after opting out of his contract in San Francisco--because NFL owners are racist or don't believe in free speech.

Kaepernick came to national attention by taking a knee during the National Anthem before games as a protest of treatment of African-Americans in the US.  He had already been demoted to backup QB by that time, so arguments that the protests cost him his starting spot are inaccurate.  Most of his teammates rallied to his defense--as did some other players around the league.  But most owners were steadfast in insisting that their players stand respectfully for the Anthem.

While a few teams did dangle the possibility of signing Kaepernick in the offseason, nothing got done before training camp.  A few coaches and general managers of teams with solid quarterbacking situations tried the disingenuous route of saying they would sign Colin--"but we don't really need a QB".  Others have justified their signing of older, less-talented QB's by saying those guys would be a "better fit for our system".

There appeared to be some hope for Kaepernick this weekend, as Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a knee injury in practice and the team needed a new starter.  But then the sizable Cuban-American population in Miami began to question Colin's wearing of a t-shirt last year that showed a photo of Malcolm X with Fidel Castro and the phrase "Like minds think alike".  And an interview with the Miami Herald quickly went downhill as Kaepernick tried to defend Castro--which not only burned any bridge that might have existed toward a job in South Florida but also tore it down and buried it in a landfill.  Miami decided it would rather have the retired Jay Cutler run their team this season.

As I have expressed here before, Colin Kaepnernick has every right to express himself and protest against this country in any form he sees fit.  But everybody else is entitled to their reaction to his protests and comments--and if that reaction is to sign other marginal quarterbacks for their football teams--then that is the "price to pay" I guess.  Although is does spare us a thirty minute breakdown of what outside linebacker is best suited to play in the Eagles' new 3-4 defense.

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