Colin Kaepernick deserves to be in the NFL. Not just as a topic of conversation, as an example for what happens if one does not “stay in your lane.” Not on a practice squad. But, on an active NFL roster (if not starting). Point blank. Period.
The NFL, an incredibly popular, multi-billion dollar industry, has a race issue, among a domestic violence issue, and many other issues within the operations of the league itself.
Putting that aside for the moment, Kaepernick’s numbers speak for themselves, especially when compared to the absolute dreadful quarterback play NFL fans bore witness to during Week One and the beginning of Week Two of the 2017 NFL season.
Numbers Never Lie…
Mind you, this is the same player that absolutely torched the successful and beloved Green Bay Packers in the playoffs just a few short years ago, while setting NFL quarterback rushing records with 181 rushing yards in a single game. If time passed is the “issue” with Kaepernick, the 29-year-old became just the fifth player in NFL history to throw three passing touchdowns and rush for 100 yards in a single game, doing so during the 2016 season, joining dual-threat legends Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick among others.
People forget that Kaepernick did not get cut, but opted out of his contract in San Francisco, a contract that was originally worth a whopping $126 million after leading the 49ers to back to back NFC Championship appearances, one leading to a Super Bowl, and the other with the team falling just short on the now infamous Richard Sherman interception on Michael Crabtree in the right corner of the end zone.
For Kaepernick’s six-year NFL career thus far, all of which has taken place in the Bay area and not really starting until his second season in 2012 when he took over for Number One overall pick Alex Smith, he has actually had pretty solid numbers. Passing wise throughout the regular season, “Kap” has thrown for 72 touchdowns compared to 30 interceptions, which might not jump off the page but is well over a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio, better than several NFL starting quarterbacks, as well as a respectable 88.9 quarterback rating overall.
When talking the rushing side of the oft-desired dual-threat quarterback in today’s NFL, Kaepernick more than fits the mold and has shown that throughout his career. Kap has rushed for 2,300 yards as a quarterback, including 13 rushing touchdowns on a very impressive 6.1 yards per carry, and that’s all just in the regular season.
As previously mentioned, Kaepernick led his San Francisco 49ers on back to back deep playoff runs, in which he posted a 4-2 record, 87.3 passing rating, and five rushing touchdowns on an incredible 9.9 yards per carry, including setting an NFL record along the way for rushing by a quarterback, including regular season and playoff history.
Looking at total QBR, an often looked at statistic in today’s day and age, Kaepernick’s 55.2 from 2016 ranked ahead of over half of the league’s backup QBs from last season, including Scott Tolzien, who started for the Indianapolis Colts last week, and Jacoby Brissett, who is set to take over for Tolzien this week after an abysmal showing in the opener for the Colts in Andrew Luck’s absence.
Kaepernick’s total QBR from last season also tops that of an NFL MVP in Cam Newton (53.1), a Pro Bowler in Ryan Tannehill (54,1), and a Super Bowl MVP in Eli Manning (51.8).
Week One was a pretty horrendous week for NFL quarterbacks, with one-third of them playing with a total QBR of less than 35, including Newton, Manning, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton, who also threw four interceptions and couldn’t even lead the talented Bengals offense down the field to score a single point, and also has not thrown a touchdown through two full games this season.
In 11 starts last season, Kaepernick also mustered a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio which would rank toward the top of the QB ladder, as well as nearly 500 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Richard Sherman’s Seattle Seahawks play the 49ers this week, and the All-Pro defensive back had some thoughts on the whole Kaepernick situation.
“We’re playing San Fran, they’re gonna ask about Kaepernick. And does he deserve a job? Of course he deserves a job. You saw the quarterback play throughout the league, and it was terrible,” referring to Week One of the 2017 NFL season.
But, the out-spoken Seattle corner didn’t stop there, further backing up the aforementioned stats about Week One QB performers.
“What happened to Indianapolis. You saying they couldn’t use Kaepernick? That’s crazy talk, but it’s unfortunate that a man is unemployed right now who is a pretty good ball player, won his fair share of ball games. There are lesser-talented guys employed because they didn’t stand up for a cause…,” Sherman stated in a video for the Players’ Tribune that has now gone viral.
…But People Do
In the last year and about a month since Kaepernick started his silent, peaceful protest by kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice, police brutality and systematic racism, there have been many outrageous things said to and about Kaepernick, including reported death threats made to him.
Sure, everyone can be entitled to their own opinion, but when lies and flat out racism are being expressed, that cannot be accepted as truth. Not anywhere, but especially the NFL, where over 70% of the labor force (players) are African-American.
Remember, Kaepernick might not have pleased many in his approach, but was never trying to disrespect the military, and instead simply stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”
Not only is that not disrespectful or threatening, but unfortunately Kaepernick’s sentiments have rang true too many times, both last Summer, in the police killings of Terrence Crutcher and Philando Castile at a traffic stop, but also just a few short weeks ago in the year 2017, with the absolutely disgusting, racially charged events that occurred because of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
As U.S. Senator Cory Booker put so accurately yet succinctly, “People seem to be more outraged by an NFL player taking a knee, than the murder or killing of an unarmed black man.”
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has also expressed similar sentiments, stating, “What should horrify Americans is not Kaepernick’s choice to remain seated during the national anthem, but that nearly 50 years after [Muhammad] Ali was banned from boxing for his stance, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s raised fists caused public ostracization and numerous death threats, we still need to call attention to the same racial inequities.”
The “stick to sports” argument doesn’t work here either, because not only are the areas of sports and real life always crossing paths in today’s society, but if athletes truly just stuck to sports instead of speaking and acting on their beliefs and what they feel is right for humanity, millions of dollars for hurricane relief would not have been raised nearly as quickly in the past couple weeks, and that’s just one obvious, real-world example that many people know about now.
Max Kellerman, a white, male co-host on ESPN’s First Take, recently went on a passionate rant about the whole situation on his show, including stating that, “Precisely the issue that Colin Kaepernick is protesting, is systematic racial injustice.” Kellerman also detailed the unfortunate irony of the situation, as what Kap is protesting is “exactly why he’s without a job right now.”
There are many aspects and points of view in this whole Colin Kaepernick situation, from people of all different races, but if even just for football reasons right now, Colin Kaepernick deserves to at least be on an NFL team.
The Colts are about to start a player that they just traded for, the Texans would be smart to have Deshaun Watson learn from Kaepernick who has had success in this league, and the Jets certainly don’t have any better options for themselves.
Colin Kaepernick deserves to be in the NFL, and until he is, the league will continue to show its lack of concern for human rights issues, especially if the issues don’t directly affect the white owners as a whole.