San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick talks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Los Angeles. The San Francisco 49ers won 22-21. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
By: Ana Kieu
Did the NFL collude to keep Colin Kaepernick out? The obvious answer is that he’s a distraction, but the hardest question is how all of this happened.
Before the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers in a preseason game last August, Kaepernick refrained from standing up during the national anthem, choosing to kneel on the sideline. His refusal to stand stirred the pot and bothered a lot of people including veterans. However, there are some gray lines when it comes to the idea of not standing because it can signal a lack of allegiance to the nation he currently resides in.
Kneeling wasn’t the only thing Kaepernick has done that generated controversy. He also spoke out about the reasoning behind his protest. A number of African-American athletes have spoken out about the higher rates of police violence in black communities, including Kaepernick. He said that he protested the crimes against people of color in the United States.
Kaepernick doesn’t want to show pride in the American flag because the country oppresses people of color. To him, the protest is more important than the sport of football. He dislikes how there are dead bodies laying in the streets and officers are getting paid leave instead of receiving prison time. He could care less if he receives approval, he just wants to stand up for what’s right.
The 49ers mentioned that the national anthem will always be a special part of the pregame ceremony. It’s an opportunity for people to honor their country and reflect on the great liberties they have as citizens. They respect traditional American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That being said, they already said that Kaepernick could make his own choices so his actions are technically not illegal.
As Kaepernick waits for a job opportunity, he’s continuing to do charity work. Shortly after he began his protests, he announced that he would donate $1 million of his salary to help organizations that assist troubled communities. He has a section on his website, Kaepernick7.com, dedicated to the donations he has made so far. He has also donated shirts, hats, shoes and books to men’s shelters and orphanages such as the Know Your Rights Camp.
Here’s the question: Why is Kaepernick still unemployed?
Kaepernick’s inability to get signed during the 2017 NFL free agency has surprised even his own teammates. He has been a free agent since March 3. That’s not good news considering the fact he can play at a professional level. He led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 NFL season.
Kaepernick has 72 touchdowns and a 59.8 pass completion percentage along with 12,271 yards gained in 69 career games. He has seven touchdowns and a 58 pass completion percentage along with 1,374 yards gained in six postseason games. These numbers aren’t too shabby. Yet, he remains out of the league while several quarterbacks have found new jobs such as Brian Hoyer, Case Keenum, Geno Smith, Josh McCown, Mark Sanchez, Matt McGloin and Nick Foles.
President Donald Trump criticized Kaepernick last August. He described his refusal to stand for the national anthem as a terrible thing. He also suggested that Kaepernick should find a country that works better for him. Despite the negativity, Kaepernick has continued his protests, which might’ve affected his job search.
Perhaps the government has played a role in telling Roger Goodell and the NFL what to do about Kaepernick. This isn’t the typical case of unemployment. The 29-year-old has made millions in his career. Goodell said that NFL teams just make decisions based on the level of talent a player might have. He respected Trump’s comment because everyone’s going to make comments. There’s nothing he can do about Trump’s comments.
Kaepernick’s not only a distraction, but his play has been questionable in recent years. So he’ll just have to play the waiting game before he receives another contract.