Colin Kaepernick opens up about his continued exclusion. What did he say?
It’s going on seven years since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was blacklisted by the NFL but that hasn’t stopped his search for a new team.
How strange it is to think that the signal caller saw his NFL career terminated after kneeling during the national anthem in a show of protest against police brutality. Surely there are worse things than standing in solidarity with a good cause. Yet, it appears the league doesn’t see it that way.
What brought Colin Kaepernick to this point?
If you search for Colin Kaepernick on Google, you will find that he is listed as an “American civil rights activist.” Yet, as we all know, Kaepernick became a household name as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers across five seasons (2011 - 2016). If we’re honest, however, it was, in fact, Kaepernick’s political stance that truly brought him to the fore as he began to not only kneel during the playing of the national anthem but also spoke openly about the topic of police brutality and the need for reforms. What followed was his release from the 49ers following the 2016 season, with head coach Kyle Shanahan stating that Kaepernick didn’t factor into his plans. The problem is nobody picked him after, which led to widespread accusations of him being intentionally shunned by the league and its teams. Indeed, there was even a lawsuit that he filed against the league which ended with an undisclosed settlement.
What has Colin Kaepernick said?
Today, Kaepernick remains without a team, however, it’s definitely not been for lack of trying. Following a number of workouts with a number of teams, there have been no concrete offers and so the exclusion continues, something which the 35-year-old spoke about in a recent interview. After explaining that he continues to work out five to six days a week, Kaepernick admitted that he still maintains hope that at least one team in the NFL will give him another chance.
“I’m going to keep pushing,” Kaepernick said. “I’m going to keep fighting for it because I know I can step on the field and play. Every workout, every opportunity I’ve had to show that, the feedback has always been positive. Everything from, ‘he’s still an elite player,’ to ‘the workout was great; it was better than expected.’” Kaepernick then added that he’d like teams to put their “political bias” aside. “Obviously, there’s something else within this decision,” Kaepernick said of why he can’t even get a workout. “To me, that’s typically what it ends up being, or has been for the last seven years. So, I just want the opportunity to come in, show what I can do on the field. Judge me based upon that, not the political bias that you have.”
So, where is Colin Kaepernick right now?
To be clear, Kaepernick hasn’t played in an official NFL game since the above-mentioned 2016 season with the 49ers. In that time, he has become a well-known advocate for social justice, signed a massive contract with Nike, had one workout with the Raiders last year, and has received not a single offer from any team in the league. This is for a player who led the Niners to a Super Bowl in 2012, the NFC Championship in 2013, and still holds the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a regular season game with 181, and a postseason game as well with 264.
“When I had my workout with the Raiders last year, even training with guys, there’s a decent amount of people who may have forgotten what I was capable of doing on the field,” Kaepernick said. “So any chance to be able to remind people of what I can do out there, I look forward to and embrace, and I look forward to the day that I get to step on the field and show people what I can do.” It’s worth mentioning that despite the fact that his trial with the Raiders went well, no offer was ever made. “I’ve heard a lot of excuses over the years, but most of the time it ends up, ‘Oh, we’re going to see how the guys that we have do,’” Kaepernick said about the lack of offers. “With the Raiders’ situation last year, that was [Jarrett] Stidham and Nick Mullens, which to me, you just compare résumés and capabilities, on top of the workout and the feedback, it’s like, ‘OK, cool.’” It remains to be seen whether Kaepernick’s plight will change, but for the moment all we can do is hope that reason prevails.