Is Colin Kaepernick Returning to Football?
Colin Kaepernick, the former football player who is more known for kneeling during the National Anthem than throwing touchdown passes, is in the news again. It seems, on the face of it, that the National Football League may be giving him a chance to play football again. ESPN explains.
“NFL clubs were informed Tuesday that a private workout will be held for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta, according to a copy of a memo obtained by ESPN.
“The session will include on-the-field work and an interview. All teams are invited to attend, and a video of both the workout and the interview will be made available to them. ”
Kaepernick, for his part, claims that he has been working out five days a week for the past three years, ever since he left the San Francisco 49ers in March 2017 after he caused controversy with his kneeling protests. However, only two teams as of this writing, the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions, have announced that they will send representatives to the workout. No guarantee exists that any team is going to make Kaepernick an offer.
Kaepernick became more than a run in the mill professional football quarterback when, in the third preseason game for the 49ers as a starting quarterback, he sat rather than stood for the playing of the National Anthem. Throughout the 2016 season, he chose to kneel rather than stand in protest, so he claimed, of racial injustice in the United States.
That Kaepernick became a polarizing figure would be to put the matter mildly. For some, he was a stalwart warrior for social justice. For many others, Kaepernick was a rich, pampered athlete who was, in effect, giving the middle finger to the country that had given him the opportunity to get rich throwing a football around.
Even though Kaepernick left professional football, a number of players started following his example the following season. The effect of these protests did not so much raise awareness of racial injustice than it did cut into the revenues of professional football as fans started to boycott games by not coming to the stadium and watching something else on television. Kaepernick was unable to find another team, for which he filed a grievance claiming collusion among the teams to deny him a position. The simple truth of the matter is that no team wanted to put up with the bad publicity for a player who, being in his early 30s, is past his prime anyway.
Kaepernick did not win many friends by signing a lucrative contract with Nike, The athletic shoe company cut an ad with Kaepernick with the caption, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” What Kaepernick sacrificed is left up to the viewer to guess. Later, the football player pressured Nike to drop a planned “Betsy Ross” shoe, claiming that the Betsy Ross flag had a relationship with slavery, even though Ms. Ross was an early abolitionist.
It should also be noted that Nike manufactures overprice footwear using what amounts to slave labor in the developing world. So much, one might add, for social justice.
As for the tryout, many sports analysts think that it is a sham. Forbes opines that both Kaepernick and professional football are doing just fine without one another.
“Which means whether we’re talking about the NFL or Kaepernick, none of this …will matter in the long run. Simply put, the league is doing its version of shoving a sucker in the mouth of Kaepernick and his disciples before yanking it out prior to the first lick.”
If the “tryout” is a sham, then why hold it at all? The NFL has finally placed the protest debacle behind even flirting with starting that controversy up would seem to be foolish, opines Hot Air. Sports are also questioning the timing of the exercise, the middle of the season rather than sometime before the beginning. Does any of the teams in the NFL need even a backup quarterback because of injuries and is the need great enough to pick up Kaepernick and the baggage that he brings with him?
Of Kaepernick, Hot Air suggests, “I’ve repeatedly said that he was probably playing well enough in his last season to qualify for a spot on a team, but perhaps not good enough for any of them to feel it was worth all the baggage and negative media attention that would follow if they picked him up. Perhaps conditions on the ground have changed.”
Or, perhaps not and the tryout is a sham to appease people who think that Kaepernick got a raw deal and deserves a chance to play again.