Writer Shaun King covers a lot of racially charged topics and often faces scrutiny from those who likely disagree with him. King's critics even refer to him as being whiter than most white people based on the pigment level in his skin, but King continues publishing articles that do one specific thing - he gets people reading, talking, and sharing. While many people dislike him, there's also another half that enjoys his work. I don't fit into either category simply because I don't care one way or the other about what Shaun does, as it's his career and his business. As a fellow writer, I actually admire the success that he has, even if I don't care for his work in particular, but no one can say he's failing at succeeding because he isn't. He might not be very well liked, but that hatred towards him is what propels his readership. It's almost like the majority of his readers are people who despise him. That's all fine and there's nothing wrong with that from a working perspective. However, there is something that I noticed about his latest article about Colin Kaepernick and I want to see if you agree with me on a few things.
His latest piece regards Kaepernick and a de facto ban from the NFL. While we all say he isn't banned, we all really know - he's banned, but not by the owners. By the fans. The fans would leave immediately if he was signed on their team. We blame dwindling stats paired with excess social justice warrior baggage, but that's probably not why. We say no one wants to pay top tier price for bottom tier talent, but that's probably not why. We give every reason in the book on why Kaepernick isn't on an NFL team but deep down inside we all know that it truly is a personal thing that resides with the fans who feel annoyed, irritated, disrespected, and spiteful to boo and leave their game if these nonsense protests keep happening in their form of entertainment.
I Kaepernick would be a better third-string quarterback than what most teams have. Everyone knows that. But the current 3rd stringers out there don't come with baggage that turns fans away. Also, would Kaepernick accept the payment agreement of a veteran minimum if it was offered to him? I don't know, but it would certainly be a foot in the door and give him chances to move up. But Shaun King mentioned that Kaepernick was not ever offered a spot as a third-string backup. If that's true, I don't know. We have no way to prove that other than for Kaepernick to email us and state it himself. There are so many poor play quarterbacks in the league right now that if Kaepernick had stayed on both legs, that he would probably have a starting job somewhere. How can you not make it on the Cleveland Browns or 49ers? Even his old team would likely fare better than what they're doing now with that tremendously bad team of theirs.
Shaun King made a good point. It's a point I made many months ago that suggests Kaepernick should easily be a third stringer on almost every team in the NFL. I listed numerous quarterbacks who are absolutely terrible and that Kaepernick would be an instant upgrade over based on his experience alone. But again - it's the baggage and money excuse, right? Do we assume Kaepernick wouldn't accept bottom of the barrel third string money after being in the Super Bowl? If it's the only contract he's offered, then I have a hard time believing he would say no. Which makes me now think it's true what King said - maybe Kaepernick wasn't ever offered a spot as the second backup. If he was, and he took it, then would the fans revolt and stop coming to games? The fans already turned their back on the league and the ratings have fallen much farther than any statistic of Kaepernick's.
Let's discuss some points Shaun King wrote in his article. He's in bold/italics and my response is below.
As long as Colin Kaepernick is effectively banned from the NFL for protesting injustice and police brutality in America, no player should agree to any deal that weakens their power to not only bring him back, but to also ensure that what has happened to him never happens to another player again.
What King needs to realize is that the NFL teams have the privilege of deciding whom they hire. If they all say no, then there's not much that can be done about it. What would it mean if we forced ourselves into jobs? That would take away the freedom of the business to hire whomever they wish. What happened with Kaepernick was that he abused his platform and this is the consequence. Please remember, he did have a contract with the 49ers and he opted out. That was not a very wise career decision in terms of his need to stay on a team and continue earning millions.
When Kaepernick began using his position and platform as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers to bring attention to the brutal police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in the summer of 2016, such a pledge from the NFL seemed as likely as President Donald Trump pledging support to undocumented immigrants.
Kaepernick abused his position and spoke on the wrong platform. His job was to play football and he used his position to push a political agenda. People must remember that playing football was his job and football is a form of entertainment. Fans don't want politics mixed into their entertainment. His job was to win football games, not use his job to push his personal politics. If most of us went to work and turned it into a political playground, pushing objectives that have nothing to do with our job, and speaking of things absolutely unrelated to our work - then we would likely be told to stop or face consequences. Kaepernick faced consequences for abusing his platform. If he did this on his own time, then it wouldn't be a big deal, but pushing his agenda into his job is where the problem was for him.
Kaepernick's message was fine, but his delivery, forced upon millions of paying customers, were not interested in it. You can't make people be interested in something. You can't force your politics upon people at your job. That's a recipe for disaster and the outcome has been that Kaepernick no longer is employed by the job he abused for his personal needs.
Sports Illustrated just awarded Kaepernick with its Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. GQ named him its Citizen of the Year. Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Last December, the San Francisco 49ers gave Kaepernick its most prestigious award for his contributions on and off the field.
I believe most of those awards are given to him to spike ratings and traffic on their websites. Is it possible that GQ named him Citizen of the Year to spike their own ratings? They know if they do something controversial with Colin Kaepernick, then they almost certainly become the point of conversation and in this business - all press is good press. If someone wanted to be in all major headlines, then all they had to do was give Colin Kaepernick an award. It was like when ESPN gave Caitlyn Jenner a courage award, even though Jenner was nothing but a lifelong coward. He would have courage if he came out 40 years ago at a time where it was ultimately taboo to do so. Coming out now, as an old man dressed like a woman, isn't courage. It's a freakshow.
And yet, he is a football player in the prime of his life without a team. Nobody will touch him with a 10-foot pole. In a season that has seen over 100 quarterbacks signed to NFL rosters, Kaepernick never even received a chance to try out for a team. He never received an offer to serve as a backup. He never even received a chance to be a third-string quarterback playing for the league minimum. I know — I asked him myself.
The thing about this is that the NFL teams don't have to hire Kaepernick if they don't want to. The teams have the freedom of determining who's on their roster and who works for them. That's the beauty of being the owner of a team and having the ultimate decision of who represents you. While Kaepernick's intentions are good and represent a change that America needs in terms of justice reform, he also needs to remember that he abused his privilege as an NFL player and took advantage of his job and platform. Kaepernick worked for his team, his team did not work for him. Kaepernick used his job to push his political agenda and that should not be allowed on any NFL team. Football is entertainment, not politics nor social justice. The football stage was not Kaepernick's place to abuse with political agendas or personal beliefs. His job was to score and win, not turn it into a disastrous campaign for political causes.
Colin Kaepernick, it is now almost universally agreed, has been effectively shut out of the NFL because of his stance against injustice in America. The man has impeccable character. He’s as generous with his time and money as any athlete in the league. He has never once been in trouble a day in his life. He’s quiet. He’s in a committed relationship. So nobody can say it’s any off-the-field antics that has kept him out of the league.
If the majority of football fans accepted the political nonsense in their favorite form of skull crushing entertainment, then Kaepernick would have a job. The problem is that fans are turning away from the league because they just want to see people play football. People simply do not want politics mixed into their entertainment. It's truly as simple as that.
If Kaepernick agreed to play ball and not abuse his position on the team for politics, then I think he'd be on a team. But no team wants to risk that. No team wants to see their stadium seats empty. If you haven't noticed, the NFL's ratings are tanking so bad that league commissioner Roger Goodell offered to give money to social justice hoping the players in his league would stop protesting the National Anthem. It fell on deaf ears. It's all falling on deaf ears because football fans are sick of it.
Team owners, players, fans, and tons of Americans are tired of hearing about Colin Kaepernick. He's now in the same status as Kim Kardashian. Kaepernick has a lot more talent than the entire Kardashian family put together, but he's become the athletic drama queen famous for being famous. He's the guy who dissed America by caring about social issues, abused his platform, and irritated the customer of the NFL.
The fans decided the outcome of the Kaepernick situation. The fans have every right to - they're the ones paying NFL salaries and being ripped off for overpriced drinks and parking fees just to see their favorite teams perform. Marring the game with social justice and politics ruined it for the fans.
Bring on criminal justice reform, because we all know it's needed, but the truth is that people don't care about Colin Kaepernick anymore.