The conversation about Colin Kaepernick within our country has been an interesting one; it has also been a conversation with a lot of very different perspectives. The newest conversation revolving around Kaepernick deals with his grievance case against the National Football League. Kaepernick believes the league is colluding against him, which is why he is not signed to a team this season. Kaepernick feels that his inability to join a team is at the hands of team owners who have conspired to technically ‘black ball’ him because of his public decision to kneel during the national anthem and as a board we agree. Kaepernick is right to have made his grievance, and it was necessary to document that the NFL is working against him.
We looked at a few variables to consider when proving our hypothesis that he indeed is being colluded against. One variable is that Kaepernick is a great athlete. A strong narrative that has seemingly been ignored in all of this is his athletic ability. Kaepernick before his “Kneel-gate” controversy was one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Kaepernick now is coming off of one of his greatest seasons.
According to Pro-Football Reference and The Washington Post, Kaepernick’s ranking from last season is within the top 20 compared to other current quarterbacks from this season. His overall interception rate to date is 1.8 percent, which is only second to Aaron Rodgers in all NFL history. Kaepernick has considerable promise, which would seem foolish for any owners to refuse to sign him. But now he has suddenly missed every opportunity to be signed to any team in the entire league. It seems that Kaepernick’s lack of a team is based solely on his beliefs and protest because his statistics prove otherwise.
The next variable would this past off-season camp training. Kaepernick was never allowed to practice with any team during their off-season camp practices. These camps are crucial for any player, especially their quarterbacks. Without this experience, one is unable to understand the dynamics, the coaching, and overall operations of the team they are on. This makes it very difficult to work well with a team without their camp experience, and even harder when it’s time to start the season. Without any camp time, Kaepernick has been left at a huge disadvantage, and it hinders him from working cohesively with any team, thus automatically making him undesirable. So why would he not be invited to any camp since he is such a good athlete? There is not a logical explanation for it, other than owners working against them once again because of his protesting.
Furthermore, Kaepernick is going to need evidence. As of now, we know plenty of the league’s owners are public supporters of President Trump, who has publicly denounced Kaepernick. This has caused the protests to grow and have an effect on other owners and their teams.
Late this September, The Steelers made the decision to wait in the tunnel during the National Anthem, while the owner of the Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said, “I don’t know about that. But if there is anything that is disrespectful to the flag then we will not play.” These are perfect reasons for many of the owners to not want to sign Kaepernick so that their team stays out of the protest limelight. But that in its self isn’t fair, and Kaepernick will have a tough time proving it. Right now there is no publicly made physical evidence that proves that any staff member or owner has been in communication to deny Kaeepernick a position.
We as a board also debated the question about whether Kaepernick should be signed by the Green Bay Packers since Aaron Rodgers is currently out due to injury. We ultimately were left with a split decision. Some believed that it would be a smart move and possibly a great move for the Packers if they want a chance at the playoffs this season. While others noticed that the image of the Packers as “the People’s team” would be diminished given the majority of the fans are against Kaepernick’s protesting. This alone would not benefit Kaepernick and most likely would not keep him with the Packers very long.
In a perfect world, there would be an unbiased committee searching through the records of text messages and emails and other forms of communication from league to owners and coaches. However, given the status of Kaepernick as a martyr for the cause, it is unlikely he will get the justice he deserves with his grievance case.