My Voice: Colin Kaepernick

When it comes to any kind of protest, especially the non-violent type, I back anyone full heartedly. When you exercise your birthright as an American without physically harming any other human being, why would any patriotic American have an issue with that?

The simple answer is they shouldn’t, but that is not the reality. People of every demographic seem to get offended at anything and everything these days. When Colin Kaepernick decided to sit out of the national anthem, his actions were met with immediate backlash from loud voices, and allegedly the NFL owners.

There are plenty of people claiming that Kaepernick is being “blackballed” by NFL teams in an attempt to suppress protesting of social injustices. But is he really being mistreated? Does he really deserve to be signed?

Let’s start off with the glaringly obviously fact that yes, Colin Kaepernick is absolutely better than some current starting quarterbacks in the league, and is also undoubtedly better than most backups, if not all of them. But the question doesn’t always revolve around pure skill, you have to take into account a multitude of other things, one of which is divisiveness.

Kneeling for the national anthem bothers people. There is no getting around that. And not just fans, as owners seem to always claim when it comes to the decision to sign him. There are players that have strong opinions about it too, both in support of Kaepernick and against him. The quarterback is the leader of the team and runs the locker room. That becomes hard to do if you cause a divide and teammates have an issue with your actions. All of this is negative energy and attention.

Which brings me to my next point: production must outweigh negativity. Pro and con lists are very common when making any big decision, and signing a leader to your team is a HUGE decision. Just ask the Cleveland Browns how important it is to have a solid quarterback, they haven’t had one since Bernie Kosar. Kaepernick finished his last full season as a starter with respectable numbers. But let’s face it, ever since Jim Harbaugh left San Francisco, Kaepernick has not been the same. Although some of his numbers improved, and he did throw less interceptions, the team as a whole seemed to crumble around him, and at one point (before he ever protested) he lost the starting position to Blaine Gabbert. Some of you may know Blaine Gabbert as statistically the worst quarterback in NFL history.

But my final and most important point covers the rights of private companies. Each NFL team is just that, a private company. The owner and management staff has every right to sign or not sign any player they please. There is nothing in any NFL rulebook stating that a player has to be signed. And let’s not forget that the Ravens were in the process of potentially signing Kaepernick as a backup. Ray Lewis was personally in the owner, Steve Bisciotti’s ear trying to get a deal done until Colin Kaepernick’s girlfriend, Nessa Diab tweeted that racially charged picture comparing Lewis to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Django Unchained.” And we still have yet to hear from Kaepernick on if he is even truly committed to football.

All I am trying to say is that in the end, Colin Kaepernick has made his bed and now has to sleep in it. The fact that other players, and plenty of them, have now participated in the protest and had no form of punishment at all dished on them tells you all you need to know. Kaepernick does not fit what NFL owners want in a quarterback.

Paul Helmers

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