The 2019 NFL season has been brutal on the QB position so far this year and we aren’t even halfway through the season. Drew Brees still remains sidelined with a torn collateral ligament to his right hand, Big Ben is still trying to overcome his elbow injury and Sam Darnold is still in doubt after being sidelined with a bought of mononucleosis.
Chiefs fans held their breath this week after it was confirmed that Mahomes tweaked his ankle in practice and Aaron Rodgers has also been recovering from a knee injury that nearly sidelined him for Week 7.
With all the starting QB’s dropping like flies, it has provided us the opportunity to watch players we would usually only see during the preseason. Gardner Minshew has seen his stock skyrocket and has developed a huge following after making his debut with Jags and Mason Rudolf was settling into the role as QB for the Steelers, throwing up some good numbers before he was knocked out during the Steelers’ last game. But the question that is on the back of many NFL fan’s minds is why Colin Kaepernick still remains without a team.
After taking a knee during the American National Anthem, a time when traditionally, each player stands, he quickly found himself blackballed by the NFL as a whole. Standing up for perceived oppression from law enforcement agencies against black youths, his case was soon backed up after two black teenagers were killed by police officers. Other NFL players soon started to follow and it attracted worldwide attention and even caused Donald Trump to wade into the affair. The protest caused the 49ers to part ways with Kaepernick and he still remains unsigned to this day.
Kaepernick has a lot of talent to bring to a team that is struggling at the QB position. He guided the 49ers to a Superbowl appearance in 2012 and almost helped them come off with a win after they fell behind early to the Baltimore Ravens. They also made the NFC Championship game under his leadership in 2013. Kaepernick’s stats and achievements speak from themselves. Even if he isn’t signed as the starting QB, he would make a fantastic back up should things go wrong early as they have done in the 2019 season.
The most obvious reason for Kaepernick to still be without a team is because owners and coaches obviously see him as a risk. It has been speculated that the NFL saw their audience fall by 8% due to his advocacy and after he was released by the 49ers, many NFL fans became concerned he was using the NFL as a podium to showcase his protests.
Kaepernick was nearly signed during the 2017 offseason by the Baltimore Ravens to serve as a back up to former MVP Joe Flacco, but the deal was withdrawn at the last moment due to the possible backlash and heavy criticism the Ravens could have faced after doing so from the general public.
Following the Antonio Browns saga, teams are now reluctant to offer a contract to a player who they feel could risk the reputation of their franchise. Rightly or wrongly, Kaepernick poses a huge risk to a franchise because of his advocacy and many teams could be faced with trying to limit the possibility of a huge backlash. Both the NFL and the teams are reluctant to take someone on who could cause an unpleasant and unnecessary distraction from the matter at hand – football.
In all fairness, I think Kaepernick now deserves another chance in the NFL. It can be argued that he was standing up for what he believes in by choosing to make a stand when no one else did. Following the recent events with Antonio Brown, Kaepernick’s actions must surely pale in comparison.
However, it is unlikely we will see Colin Kaepernick step onto the field any time soon. In the minds of some fans, kneeling during the National Anthem is hugely disrespectful and they believe he has no place in America’s most popular sport.