At the moment there are very few subjects that will set people off the way bringing up the name Colin Kaepernick will. I’ve sat idly by in my bubble of privilege and watched this drama play out while thinking certainly someone will sign the guy. Still, to this day, they haven’t.
I’m often limited to my experiences in the Deep South here in the United States and I’ve grown quite numb to the tired, racist things I hear around me. I tell people that white folks are often quite open with me because I’m white and because of that they think they can slide some of their racist thoughts past me. I started calling it out a while back and now people make a little effort to avoid the subject with me completely. That is until the subject of Colin Kaepernick comes up.
Let me make this abundantly clear– if you are happy Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job or you say that he isn’t good enough to make an NFL squad (when the stats clearly show he is a superior player to many who have signed)– then your reasons have nothing to do with football. Brian Hoyer, Jarred Goff, Mike Glennon, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Blake Bortles, Tom Savage and Trevor Siemian are potential starters in the NFL this year. How bad are some of the back up quarterbacks? In a recent piece by FiveThirtyEight titled “Colin Kaepernick is Not Supposed to be Unemployed” statistics are displayed that show no free agent of Kaepernick’s ability has gone this long into the offseason without being signed.
Arguments sometimes shift to the claim that Kaepernick is a cancer. I’ve been told he is a distraction. The same fans making these claims support teams full of cancers, criminals, and distractions. They easily overlook the domestic violence charges of those on the teams they pull for yet will tell you in a second they hope Kaepernick never signs a contract. They’ll quickly throw in “but this isn’t about race” even though, let’s be honest here, it totally is.
I figured out I was lying to myself about this whole situation once my chosen NFL team, the Miami Dolphins, signed Jay Cutler. Jay Cutler was convinced to come out of retirement to the tune of a one year ten million dollar deal. I called up a fellow I know who is a big time fan of the Dolphins to discuss the signing (and to complain over what a horrible move I felt most Dolphins fans would think of it) and I was met with “Yeah but at least we didn’t sign Kaepernick”.At least we didn’t sign Kaepernick. He didn’t say anything else. I knew exactly what he meant and his silence meant he knew his message was delivered clearly.
He was happy we didn’t sign a man who would, more than likely, play a few seasons and help the Dolphins win more games than a 34 year old, recently retired Jay Cutler- a quarterback who might be around for one year. After all the years supporting this team and hoping for wins it was made clear to me in one moment. There are people who would rather have players with less talent at the quarterback position- players who have proven to be cancers and distractions in the locker room- over a man who took a knee to protest something he saw as an injustice. That speaks volumes to the motivations of those who say Kaepernick shouldn’t be on a team at this point. I ended the call abruptly.
Now to be honest I hadn’t really thought of Kaepernick for the Dolphins at that point. I agree with Rick Morrisey of the Chicago Sun Times but there’s more to be said. As inconsistent as Jay Cutler can be he did play a good season under Coach Adam Gase and he fits the system- but he had to be talked out of retirement and given ten million dollars for the season. I have heard from many on social media that Kaepernick’s salary demands are too much. Really? Jay Cutler got a one year ten million dollar deal. Jay Cutler. Your argument is null and void. Someone can and should sign Kaepernick.
The bottom line is Kaepernick is a black man who “forgot his place” and that has some people really riled up, mainly the NFL owners, another group who has no problem with domestic violence but get a case of the vapors over a man taking a knee. NFL fans who have chosen to boycott the league will never admit it but the fact Kaepernick had the backbone to take a seat bothers them and it hasn’t got a damn thing to do with football. Colin Kaepernick is suffering the consequences of his choices right now– however wrong the consequences may be– but history tends to favor those who do the right thing.
Kaepernick may eventually sign a contract and Cutler may take the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. Right now I have little faith in either one of those things happening.
(Featured image by Mike Morbeck via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)