NFL Still Shunning Colin Kaepernick Because of His Politics, Not His Play

NFL Still Shunning Colin Kaepernick Because of His Politics, Not His Play

May 12, 2017 0 Comments

Written by Mike Freeman | Photo: Rick Scuteri/Associated Press


This is the last time I will write about Colin Kaepernick until he signs or retires, whichever comes first. Writing about Kaepernick, who still awaits a job offer after opting out of his deal with the 49ers to become a free agent in March, takes years from your life. Sniffing glue through a straw while submerged in a pool of methane is healthier.

When you tweet about Kaepernick, clowns, socially backward people and Twitter users with green frogs in their avi tweet back. You argue with friends and non-friends alike. Professional journalists you used to respect tell you that you’re dumb. (And while I am dumb, I’m not on this.)

 Kaepernick, in many ways, continues to dominate the offseason. Mention his name to teams—even now—and you may be subject to a curse-filled rant. This happened after I tweeted about Kaepernick this week. My phone blew up with texts from team executives saying Kaepernick betrayed his country by shunning the national anthem. This is not the first time general managers and others in the league have said this to me. It won’t be the last.

The tweet stirred fans as well, prompting thousands (and counting) of likes and led to an outpouring of both support and vitriol toward Kaepernick from fans. All this for a player who isn’t even in the league.

The reason Kaepernick still hasn’t been signed, I’ve been told by dozens of team officials this week, is because of the political stance he took in not standing for the flag last season to protest racial inequality. Believe that. Or don’t. It’s up to you.

Why does this story still affect us the way it does? Kaepernick is planning to stand for the anthem this fall. He spent a day handing out suits at a New York City parole office. Yet everyone remains hardened in their positions on him, refusing to leave their various corners on it.

Part of the answer is in Peter King’s recent column, in which 49ers officials told him they believe Kaepernick preferred activism to playing football. The report caused a huge reaction on social media, leading The Nation’s Dave Zirin to contact Kaepernick, who told Zirin explicitly he wanted to still play. Zirin posted Kaepernick’s response on Twitter.

It was a fascinating moment. A team tried to create a false narrative about Kaepernick, and he responded almost in real time. Zirin’s post sparked yet another discussion on social media that veered beyond football and into politics and issues of social justice. [continue reading...]