Colin Kaepernick has not found his next job in the NFL, and President Donald Trump wants credit for that.
Kaepernick, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers last season, decided to kneel during the national anthem in protest of what he deemed unjustified use of force by police and the oppression of black people in the United States.
The quarterback opted out of the final year of his contact with the 49ers, and it seems no team is interested in signing him, even though he said he’ll now stand for the national anthem.
During a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday, Trump said (via CNN.com), “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that.”
Trump was probably referring to a recent article in Bleacher Report that cited the general manager of an AFC team saying there are three factors why Kaepernick remains unsigned: 1) about 20 percent of teams “genuinely believe that he can’t play,” 2) about 10 percent “think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team”, 3) the rest “genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did (kneeling for the national anthem). They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment.”
Spike Lee has inserted himself in the discussion, writing on Instagram that it’s “MAD Fishy” Kaepernick hasn’t been signed and wondering specifically about the QB-needy New York Jets.
Just Had Brunch With My Brother Colin @Kaepernick7 . How Is It That There Are 32 NFL Teams And Kap Is Still A Free Agent? WTF. Smells MAD Fishy To Me,Stinks To The High Heavens. The New York J-E-T-S Need A Quarterback. Who Is The J-E-T-S Quarterback? Is My Man Joe Willie Namath Coming Back? Crazy Times We Live In. The Question Remains What Owner And GM Is Going To Step Up And Sign Colin So Their Team Has A Better Chance To WIN? What Crime Has Colin Committed? Look At The QB’s Of All 32 Teams. This Is Some Straight Up Shenanigans,Subterfuge, Skullduggery And BS. Ya-Dig? Sho-Nuff. By Any Means Necessary. And Dat’s Da NoFunLeague Truth,Ruth.
To Spike Lee’s point, the owner of the Jets is Woody Johnson, an influential Republican who helped raise millions of dollars for Trump and was appointed by the president as ambassador to the U.K. When asked last September how he’d feel if one of his players refused to stand for the national anthem Johnson, replied, “That wouldn’t be my first choice.”
But let’s put Kaepernick’s situation in the proper perspective: If he was a good quarterback, he’d be on a team. Last year, his 59.2 completion percentage ranked 26th in the league.
Fox Sports wrote, “NFL teams will overlook or justify just about anything for a player with good tape. If Kaepernick were a solid, reliable quarterback, there’d be multiple NFL teams looking to sign him and spin his protests as part of his track record of positive activism.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith sees it both ways – that Kaepernick’s lack of productivity has a lot to do with his lack of a job, but that he probably would have at least gotten a sniff from a team had it not not been for his protests. If it’s more of the latter, Kaepernick has himself to blame, Smith opined. He knew before kneeling that his protests wouldn’t play well at some NFL front offices.
We’re mostly on board with Stephen A. here, but our major problem in this situation is not with Kaepernick (while his protests were severely misguided, he was exercising his First Amendment right) and not with the NFL teams who don’t want to sign him (whatever their reasons, that’s their right, too).
Our problem is with the media, which has given Kaepernick a platform as some sort of voice of social consciousness — which he is not. The man has never voted, so any claim to that title is forfeited. He also paraded around in a T-shirt depicting the meeting between Malcolm X and Fidel Castro. So yeah, he’s so socially conscious that he’s oblivious to the oppression of the Cuban people under Castro.
Still, the bottom line is this: NFL teams want to win games, and if they thought Kaepernick could help them do that, they would offer him a deal.