Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has yet to find a gig this summer after his “controversial” 2016-2017 campaign in which the signal caller often avoided standing for the national anthem to call attention to crimes against unarmed Black motorists across the country. Kaepernick’s social activism quickly caught media attention before being recognized across the sports world with other athletes performing similar acts. Despite an efficient season on the field, however, the 29-year-old remains unsigned despite several meetings with other teams in need of quarterback services. Some of Kaepernick’s supporters believe the quarterback has been “blackballed” for his exploits from last season. Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the chances of Kaepernick playing next year.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick walks off the field after warm ups before an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego ChargersThursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
Riley: Even in his prime years, Kaepernick was a difficult quarterback to grade. He never had the greatest accuracy nor was he the most efficient passer. His pregame protests last season only depreciated the value even more on an already declining player. Whether a team respects what he did last season or not, that’s not going to halt the media circus that will surely accompany him wherever he lands. Unless some type of catastrophic injury happens to an NFL starter, I don’t see Kaepernick playing next year.
Green: Kaepernick’s greatest quality has always been his athleticism, and he still possesses that. His throwing mechanics and passing vision were never his strong points but he managed still to carve out a nice career window in the NFL. Kaepernick is still fully capable of commandeering an NFL ball club and things happen in the league all the time, whether it’s an injury, trade or a release. It might take one of those for him to get signed but it won’t be long before he finds his way back to an NFL club. The real question will be whether or not he’ll continue to sit out the national anthem next season.
Riley: That question alone could keep him from being signed this summer as NFL owners – a predominantly White group – will surely frown upon the thought of adding him. The facts are that the NFL is a money-making business and not the arena to post political views, especially ones pertaining to race. Lost in a publicity-mired season was the fact that Kaepernick wasn’t overly impressive in his time on the field. He was sacked five times and threw for 4 yards in a game before being benched last season and has a combined record of 3-16 as a starter since 2015.
Green: Well, if we’re going to judge his performance last season, let’s be fair and throw out all of his numbers. His stats weren’t bad at all. He threw 16 touchdown passes to just four interceptions with a 90.7 passer rating. That’s pretty impressive, if you ask me. It’s a lot better than what some of these other free agent quarterbacks that landed jobs this summer could offer. It’s no question that Kaepernick is being blackballed for his political stance. But that may not be a bad thing. It may be time for him to move on and continue his work as an activist. We’ll never forget the sacrifice he made for us. It’ll be a part of the African-American legacy forever.