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Whither Colin Kaepernick?

When it was announced that the Dolphins Ryan Tannehill was injured and the team was looking to sign an experienced QB, naturally the “Is Colin Kaepernick being blackballed” watch began again. And when the Dolphins decided to bring in Jay Cutler, (Jay Cutler!) instead of Colin, the screaming began again.

Except, here’s the thing about Kaepernick. He wasn’t so good that it’s clear he should be someone’s starting QB any more than Jay Cutler should be. So as you start looking at these individual decisions, it’s hard to find a clear-cut case of a team choosing the clearly lesser choice. For example, taking the names out of the equation:

  • Your quarterback gets injured as training camp is starting to ramp up and exhibition games are right on the horizon.
  • The new guy has limited time to learn the playbook
  • There’s a recently retired QB who played under the head coach previously in the same system

Yes, unless that guy was the worst QB ever, that’s the guy you go sign. Not the guy who played in an entirely different system last year. The only reason you sign Kaepernick in that situation is if he represents a truly fantastic talent above and beyond anything Cutler could do. The 49ers record with Kaepernick under center the last few years would not suggest that.

So, beyond that, is he being blackballed? Honestly, to some extent he probably is. Is that OK? Well, that depends on how you feel about whether the NFL is a business or not. (Hint, it is!)

As a business, the league, or any owner, has the right to say “I don’t want this person to work for me, because too many people don’t like him, and my business depends on people liking my team and spending money on tickets and merchandise”. This is no different than what Google just decided about their guy who wrote a memo disagreeing with Google’s diversity stance. If you’re OK with Google firing him because they know the public wouldn’t approve and don’t want to be associated with this guy, then you have to be OK with any owner looking at Kaepernick and saying the same thing. Lets’ face it, whether you agree with what he was protesting or not, a LOT of people did not like the way he protested during the national anthem. People who watch games, buy tickets, and own jerseys.

Of course, you could say the same thing about some other athletes as well. A LOT of people don’t really like Richard Sherman, or Dez Bryant, or any number of NFL players for any number of reasons, yet they still have jobs. This is where it gets tough. Those guys are clearly the best options for their teams. They are stand out players who bring more value on the field than they take away off of it. Kaepernick for the last few years has been the starting QB for a horrible team. His play has been “meh”, and “meh” doesn’t guarantee you a job regardless of what you do off the field.

At the end of the day, there are those who think that the NFL is punishing Kaepernick as a message to black players to sit down and shut up. I don’t think it’s that clear cut. There are plenty of outspoken black players in the league. I think the NFL is using Kaepernick to send the message that if you’re a mediocre player, don’t be an off-field problem, because there are lots of other mediocre players who won’t be a problem for an owner.

The cardinal sin in the cut throat world of professional football isn’t taking a stance politically. It’s taking a stance politically when you aren’t so much better than the next guy. No one is going to take the PR hit, or the infamous “distraction” for a mediocre player.

Seriously, this is the league where guys draft stock falls for being too smart and having intellectual pursuits outside of football. If you want to be politically involved, and protest the national anthem, you had better be awesome.

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Link – San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark diagnosed with ALS

“”I’ve been asked if playing football caused this,” Clark wrote. “I don’t know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did. And I encourage the NFLPA and the NFL to continue working together in their efforts to make the game of football safer, especially as it relates to head trauma.””

I’ve hated Dwight Clark for a long time. As a Cowboys fans, I’m sure you can understand that. But, today I got a good reminder that these players are human beings too, and as much as I get angry about the catch, I would never wish this on another human being. Thinking good thoughts for Dwight and his family now…

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18955466/san-francisco-49ers-legend-dwight-clark-diagnosed-als

Link – Colin Kaepernick of San Francisco 49ers sits during national anthem prior to preseason game

I know a lot of people are upset about this, but for everyone who seems to think that what Colin Kaepernick did was disrespectful to the US, maybe they should stop and think about what the US stands for.

Freedom.

The freedom to not stand for the anthem, as well as the freedom to think he’s an ass for doing what he did. It all stems from the same freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.

So, dislike it all you want, but appreciate the fact that he has the freedom to make his own decisions, and to say what he wants, the same way we all do.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17401815/colin-kaepernick-san-francisco-49ers-sits-national-anthem-prior-preseason-game

Reading – Adrian Peterson’s sanitized NFL return was embarrassing

NFL

“On Monday, they failed again; to consume ESPN’s coverage over those few hours was to feel intermittently insane. It was almost real life, but not exactly. In real life, Adrian Peterson pled no-contest to child abuse, and child abuse is a particularly upsetting, stigma-carrying crime to commit, and probably something you should acknowledge in a meaningful way, even if it’s once.
In the Monday Night Uncanny Valley, everyone is excited to watch him play football again, and why he wasn’t playing is secondary, or tertiary, or quaternary, or quinary. Do you want to hear the truth, or do you want to see me shed some tacklers?”

I watched the game Monday night for two reasons. I had no rooting interest for either team, nor any fantasy football reason to watch, but I wanted to see former Buckeye Carlos Hyde, and see how ESPN handled Adrian Peterson. As soon as I realized that Chris Berman was calling the game I should have known the answer to the latter. Has he ever made a single comment that would make the NFL look bad? He has to be the media’s biggest NFL apologist, and as such he really can’t be taken seriously when he does talk about an issue like this, not that he actually did talk about it!

Look, Peterson sat out his suspension, and has gone through the court system. He, like any other person, deserves to be able to go back to make a living however he chooses after paying for his crime, and I hope what he says about learning to be a better father is true. But can we not talk about his return as if he were returning from injury? In fact, can we not compare his return to the Vikings to Navorro Bowman’s return for the 49ers? One guy sat a year after tearing two ligaments in his knee, the other as punishment for beating his kid. Those are not comparable.

Adrian Peterson’s sanitized NFL return was embarrassing

Reading – Charles Haley’s Hall Of Fame Speech Was The Moment Needed On Mental Health Issues

“[My ex-wife] Karen, in 1988 she diagnosed me with manic depression, and I thought she was just like the group of guys that wanted to always put me in this box. So we had problems after that, and I never really listened, nor did I step up to the plate and do something about it. My life spiraled out of control for years, for years, but today, guys, I am getting back into the locker room, to my teammates, and tell them guys the mistakes that I’ve made, and that the only way that you can grow is that you’ve got to ask for help. ”

Good for you Charles, both for getting help and overcoming your issues, and also for speaking up in the midst of a football culture that does not encourage people to seek help.

Charles Haley’s Hall Of Fame Speech Was The Moment Needed On Mental Health Issues