Kaepernick’s Hopeful Return To NFL Is Not About Football

Written by: Shane Shoemaker (@SShoemaker24)

Football season can’t get here fast enough. As much as I love baseball, the drag between the NBA Finals last game until the first game of football season, college or NFL, is near torturous. Most have this same sentiment as most people don’t care about baseball anymore and it’s slow paced style of game. That, and its lack of stars. (But at least it’s not NASCAR yet.) Sports talk between fans and even on-air personalities are caught up in boredom and left to fend to talk about what happened ‘last season when’ or ‘this season when’ or what LeBron’s latest thin-skinned complaint is about on social media.

That is except when you have a subject like Colin Kaepernick.

You can’t escape his name or presence (even though I haven’t actually saw him on anything recently) on any sports channel now. He’s been the major sports subject of the summer. It’s at the point of ad nauseam now to the lengths that channels like FoxSports and ESPN talk about him everyday. Not only that, but they’ve taken every single angle, every narrative that they can to try to persuade you into making you believe he is a victim, and worse, that you’re wrong if you think otherwise.

Plain and simple, is Kaepernick not being signed by an NFL team a result of his actions last year by not standing for the national anthem? Yes, absolutely. But what comes along with that is he’s simply not a good football player anymore, or at least not one worth putting up with that carries the weight of all the negative attention around him. His baggage has increased while his talents have decreased.

If Julio Jones does the exact same thing that Kaepernick has done, Julio Jones stays in the NFL. You know why? Because currently, Julio Jones is arguably the best receiver in the entire league. But then again, if Julio Jones had done what Kaepernick did and to the lengths of what he did, maybe he wouldn’t be nearly as productive either, maybe he would have struggled much like Kaepernick did last year and the year prior. Maybe he would have a shift in focus, a hidden agenda that’s more than about playing football. More on that in a second.

More than likely, a team that needs Kaepernick already has enough trouble focusing on winning games, they don’t need an extra distraction. For instance, if it would have been the Dolphins that signed him, they have a lot more to worry about than what Kaepernick is going to say, do, or stand for (or not stand for) next. Their focus is on becoming a relevant team in the league again (they’re still living off of the ’72 team and Dan Marino for goodness sakes) and beating the Patriots, and better yet, finding their leader behind center. Any team that would need Kaepernick would be grasping at straws by now in trying to find a way to maintain some average of success and hopefully keeping the interest of their fans by not leaving them with a hopeless upcoming season.

The quarterback position comes with a lot of baggage all by itself. You’re the face of the team, the flag-bearer, the guy that’s supposed to lead the team to every single victory, the first guy judged and scrutinized for his play, and at this juncture, it seems Kaepernick is more focused on becoming that of a leader off of the field than he would be on it.

Being the quarterback of the team, the leader, reminds me of that speech that John Candy gave in Cool Runnings when explaining how important the driver is for a bobsled team:

“You see Sanka, the driver has to work harder than anyone. He’s the first to show up, and the last to leave. When his buddies are all out drinking beer, he’s up in his room studying pictures of turns. You see, a driver must remain focused one hundred percent at all times. Not only is he responsible for knowing every inch of every course he races, he’s also responsible for the lives of the other men in the sled. Now do you want that responsibility?”

Do you really think Colin Kaepernick is fully focused on leading a football team right now?

Again, this is just assuming he would even start; more than likely, he would be a backup, or start for a few games for a team until the starter comes back and be the backup (ex. Joe Flacco). But where would his focus truly be? Even if he wants to be back in the league playing for another team, can he truly focus on his football duties, leading a team with all the constant media coverage that surrounds him now? I don’t believe he cares about winning another game. I believe Kaepernick wants to merely use the NFL, whether he’s in it or not, for his platform to promote his message. I mean, that’s basically what he did in preseason last year, in his full pads and gear, right before the teams’ final cuts were being made — and that’s what he’s still doing now, although just not employed by any NFL team. Because you see, it won’t be about football any longer if Kaepernick is signed to a team; it will be about what message he’s trying to send for the day. What socks is he wearing to promote his message? What did he say in his post-game interview or post-practice interview? It won’t be about football —which is the reason people are watching. Every throw or run he makes, or worse, every time he’s sacked or a referee doesn’t throw a flag for roughing the passer, it will be considered racial, discriminatory and that of the mean ole NFL out to get him. It will be replayed over and over, discussed and dissected by every sports journalist personality — you can just see people like Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe or Skip Bayless already licking their chops for a segment like this.

It’s not just one thing with Kaepernick … it’s never been just about one thing with anything like this — and maybe thats THE thing.

His talents don’t exceed his problems. He’s a media frenzy that displaces focus of everything else around him. He, even though it’s his right, has what I believe is an illogical message that he’s attempting to spread that involves things like: a support of Fidel Castro, calling cops modern-day slave-catchers, his girlfriend tweeting pictures of Ray Lewis as an Uncle Tom, and of course, not standing for the national anthem.

It’s multiple things, and they all have nothing to do with football. It’s a bad business decision if you’re an owner of a team and you choose to sign him because it could potentially have the harmful result of shifting the focus off of what your team and your business is made for: football. Why would any owner or the NFL want something that was not only not going to help improve their business, but more than likely hurt it?

It’s not about football for Colin Kaepernick any longer, but about using the NFL and its owners as scapegoats, making them the villains of his irrational message.

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