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NFL

2022 NFL: Have the Las Vegas Raiders made a contract offer to Colin Kaepernick?

Colin Kaepernick has been a free agent for over five years now, but the workout for the Las Vegas Raiders is the closest he has come to an NFL contract

Jeffrey May
Update:
Colin Kaepernick has been a free agent for over five years now, but the workout for the Las Vegas Raiders is the closest he has come to an NFL contract
USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick has not thrown a pass in the NFL since 2016. That is insane. With so many teams (so many teams) in desperate need of a quarterback of late, he should be, at the very least, in the discussion.

The Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis was quoted last month as saying that he “would welcome him [Kaepernick] with open arms” as long as the team’s coaches and GM were on board. “He deserves every chance in the world to become a quarterback in the National Football League.”

It looks like now the Raiders are now preparing to make good on that deal. Or at least properly hear him out. On Wednesday, Colin Kaepernick completed a workout with the Raiders, and while it is too early to say what the outcome will be, this looks to be his best shot at a return to the NFL.

This is the first NFL team to invite Kaepernick to workout for them in his long career hiatus. A previous workout, organized by the league in Atlanta, where all 32 teams would be invited, was nixed at the last minute by Kaepernick over the closed door policy. Instead he held an open door workout in an Atlanta high school and six teams attended.

The problems started for Kaepernick when he took a knee during the national anthem in protest to the impune killing of African-Americans by police forces nationwide. Despite being advised by a member of the US armed forces that he should take a knee during the anthem as it was “not disrespectful” as an act, Donald Trump and his horde took offense and demanded that the NFL “fire the son-of-a-bitch.”

In the inflamed rhetoric of the day, Kaepernick was earmarked to be crushed, and so the six-year 49ers quarterback found himself without a team and with public opinion firmly set against him. Times have changed very little, and even those who might be willing to put politics to one side find it hard to welcome him back.

“It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Mark Twain

Colin Kaepernick is learning the truth behind this saying the hard way. To be clear on the facts:

  • Kaepernick was right about police violence
  • Kaepernick was a better quarterback than most
  • Taking a knee is not disrespectful
  • Those who turned their back on him can not admit that they were wrong

The public simply can not admit that Kaepernick had a valid point, despite the fact that several high-profile police shootings have ended up with dismissals and murder convictions for the officers involved. NFL fans plainly do not want to discuss the matter, regardless of right and wrong.

It is a sad state of affairs, and quite an infantile reaction by the public to the phenomenon of “celebrity”. Comedian and actor Russel Brand said it best when he said, “When I was poor and complained about inequality they said I was bitter; now that I’m rich and I complain about inequality they say I’m a hypocrite. I’m beginning to think they just don’t want to talk about inequality.

If any team is to offer a contract to the purgatoried quarterback, they must be willing to buck the status quo, even perhaps against the wishes of their own fans. The Raiders are just the franchise to do that. Long ago, they decided to take pride in their outlaw reputation. Hard-nosed and willing to do anything to win, they made no secret that “real men wear black”.

Kaepernick has made clear that he understands and is willing to be a backup in the NFL. Given the $121.5 million commitment that the Raiders have made to Derek Carr, that is likely the spot that they have in mind for him. He is, after all, more experienced than either of their current backup quarterbacks.

“I think Colin is a very misunderstood human being,” Davis said. “I’ve gotten a chance to talk to him. I never really knew Colin, and I didn’t understand him. I didn’t understand the kneeling, what that meant initially. Over time, I have learned a little bit more about it.

“I understand where he was coming from. He’s got a message for society as a whole.”

Colin Kaepernick has sacrificed a lot of the things that he could have been doing in his life to get a message across about police violence and equity and inclusion in America,” said Davis. “I stand by that.”

If the Raiders offer Kaepernick a contract, it will be two things: unsurprising, and not a moment too soon.

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