Colin Kaepernick has certainly become the face of “putting your money where your mouth is” in recent years. Once lauded for taking his stance on law enforcement reform as a result of a rash of police brutality cases, Kaepernick paid the ultimate price. Well, Kaepernick paid the ultimate price as an athlete. When Kaepernick decided to no longer stand for the national anthem before NFL games, it made front-page news. As a public figure, earning millions of dollars from the NFL establishment, the slightest whiff of being unpatriotic is a red flag.
So a red flag it was, and it waved and waved, and waved. Even after Kaepernick explained his reasoning in explicit fashion, the media continued to portray Kaepernick as a problem in the league that needed to be eliminated. And eliminated he was after the NFL’s 2016 campaign. Colin Kaepernick was effectively blackballed by the NFL, which has since then, begun helping to fund social justice initiatives. Make it make sense right?
In 2019 Kaepernick and the NFL settled a collusion case in which this blackballing was the center. It was thought that Kaepernick was being paid an undisclosed amount, this might’ve quelled his desire to suit up again. But that would turn out to be false. in November of 2019, the NFL held an open workout for Colin Kaepernick. All 32 teams in the league were invited to ensure that no team would be singled out for not giving the opportunity. Kaepernick decided to attempt to select his own location for a workout instead, which the NFL teams in attendance weren’t expecting. Details from this point cover a wide spectrum that I won’t attempt to explain. But the bottom line was that the teams in attendance essentially felt jerked by this happening. They felt made fools of. And in my opinion, they continue to hold Kaepernick’s behavior in this regard over his head to this day.
So that brings us to 2023, in the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ injury with the New York Jets. Kaepernick penned a letter to the Jets basically asking for an opportunity to prove himself on their practice squad. With the Jets in need of a quality quarterback while Rodgers is away, on paper, this didn’t seem like a bad idea. Except, Kaepernick was a starting quarterback in a Superbowl once before. The optics looked desperate. Furthermore, the Jets declined to give him the opportunity. So what now?
If you ask me, Kaepernick should call it a day. I respect the sacrifice he made to bring light to an extremely serious issue. But it’s clear, that after that snafu in 2019, the NFL is cool on him. In as much as he might be able to still play after seven years of game time inactivity, the NFL would rather just move on. I personally don’t want to see him a step away from graveling via an open letter. Kaepernick’s legacy was once, an athletic quarterback who had an opportunity to win a Superbowl. His legacy is much larger now due to his philanthropic efforts. He challenged the establishment. And truthfully, we make no progress in this life without doing so. However, further attempts to play in the NFL just taints things in my eyes. And I was always given the advice growing up, to just quit while you’re ahead. I think in this case, it’s apropos.