Everybody knows that Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback of the San Fran 49ers, has been the subject of much discussion recently. On and on go the talking heads with their different theories as to why he hasn't been signed by any other NFL team.
Some suggest he has been "black-balled" by the league owners -- which would constitute the dreaded "collusion" for his refusal to stand for the national anthem in games last year. Good luck ever proving that one.
To be sure, the NFL and its fans are quite the patriotic, red, white, and blue bunch. How else to explain the giant American flags displayed on the field before many games, the presence of the military "color guard", and the fly-overs by fighter planes?
Actually, the latter is no more than a colossal waste of jet fuel at taxpayers expense. There's no good reason -- none -- for this to happen.
Taking history into account, it appears America has come full circle in it's appreciation for the folks that serve in the armed forces. Everybody's a hero now days. This stands in stark contrast to the attitude the returning soldiers of the horribly misguided Viet Nam war faced upon returning home. They were spat upon and demonized as "baby killers".
Though other political wars continue and many innocents continue to die -- see "collateral damage" -- there is little doubt the American public has come to see things quite differently.
Politics and the revival of hawkish nationalism aside, the Kaepernick question remains. Why is he still in a form of purgatory?
Sure, he had every right to do what he did regarding his "stance", or lack thereof, regarding the anthem. But that doesn't mean everybody else had to like it either. And most certainly, millions definitely did not.
Another question so many continue to dance around, but you just know they want to imply, is -- has the ugly head of racism popped up again, and this is only happening to Kaepernick because he's black?
That would appear to be the proverbial double edged sword. It could be there is some merit to that line of thought.
After all, if Kaepernick were a white man in the same situation, do you really think such a fuss would continue to be made over his plight? Likely not.
One Jay Cutler, former QB of the Chicago Bears, with similar not-so-good stats over the last couple years remains in purgatory and unsigned by any other team as well. But you don't hear the outrage over Cutler.
The point is well taken that teams such as the NY Jets have a handful of QBs on their roster, none of which can be mistaken for stellar, or even average. So why, indeed WHY haven't they reached out to Kaepernick and offered him a roster spot? Or Cutler for that matter? Remember the double-edged sword.
Well OK, let's look at some stats.
In 2014, arguably the high point of Kaepernick's stint with the 49ers, he threw for 19 touchdowns, gave up 10 interceptions, 3 fumbles, and had an overall quarterback rating of 67.7. The team went 8-8. A mediocre year for both CK and the 49ers.
2015. Six TDs, 5 picks. 1 fumble, and a QBR of a woeful 46.5, while the team slid to 5-11.
2016. 16 TDs and only 4 "picks", a dramatic improvement, but he coughed up 7 fumbles. QBR of 55.5. Meh. And the 49ers were a horrific 2-14 with CK at the helm.
So at his best, Kaepernick was actually only average as NFL quarterbacks go. And lately he's been terrible.
Whether or not he would be a "locker room cancer" for any team that signed him is an open question, but there can be little doubt him exercising his freedom of expression rights would create quite the backlash among fans in most any NFL town.
The LAST thing owners want to do is alienate their fans. This is not to say CK was wrong in what he did, but there are two possible valid reasons why he remains unemployed.
First, it would be a public relations nightmare for any team.
And second, it might just be that he flat out isn't good enough. His recent performances and stats speak for themselves. But nobody wants to talk about that.
Hey, when it comes to race, remember Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens was allowed to keep playing after he escaped a murder conviction by the skin of his teeth -- because he was still a terrific linebacker.
Ray Rice, of the very same team, after that pesky elevator incident with his wife -- was not. Because his production as a running back had taken a nose dive.
Looked at another way, does anybody seriously think Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Matt Ryan would be on the outside looking in if they had done the same thing as Kaepernick? Of course not. These are premier QBs. CK was decidedly not. A difference. Big one.
So for those that continue to protest Kaepernick not being offered a job by another NFL team -- I would offer the following ----
Yep, a lot of factors may be in play, some perhaps dubious.
But it might just be other teams have taken a hard look and determined, gasp, he's....just.... not... good... enough.
Or worth the hassle -- take your pick.