Big Ben Tuesday: Was Colin Kaepernick Blackballed?

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MOSQUITOVILLE, VT: The Washington Post said the NFL is basically blackballing Colin Kaepernick. Spike Lee agreed, saying on Instagram that it was “MAD fishy” and “stunk to the high heavens.” Maybe Spike’s MAD lingo should be blackballed? Anyway, let’s take a look.

No Takers Yet

Blackballed?

You can find some support without looking outside of New York City. I think the Josh McCown signing makes sense – a veteran bridge to HackenPetty or the stocked QB class of the 2018 draft. And I understand the Geno Smith signing too – clearly the Giants think Eli is indestructible and don’t think his backup matters. But Kaepernick is more talented than both.

You might also raise an eyebrow when you take a look around the league and see the names of other QBs who were quickly signed – guys like Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, and Landry Jones. Kaepernick has much more upside as a backup for the unproven Mike Glennon in Chicago than Matt Barkley and his 63.7 career QB rating.

Probably Not

I’m sure some teams have no interest in signing him based on the kneeling alone. A SB Nation story quoted an NFL executive who said Kaepernick is the most reviled player in the league since Rae Carruth. Other teams don’t want the distraction.

Saracuda

Now, it’s still pretty early in free agency and those dud QBs mentioned above were all signed for pretty modest salaries. Teams are still assessing the draft prospects, their salary cap, remaining free agents, etc. Kaepernick himself is looking for the right landing spot – ESPN is reporting that he’s looking for a chance to start and $9-10 million per year. Aren’t we all. We could see some movement after the Tony Romo domino falls. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why he is not on an NFL roster, many of which are the same reasons Jay Cutler is not on an NFL roster.

But Why the Hate?

It’s premature to say he’s being blackballed, but I really don’t understand the intensity of the hate. In a league stocked with wife beaters, rapists, a guy who beat his kid with a stick and didn’t understand the uproar, and a guy who straight up murdered a dude for spilling a drink on him, this hate seems misplaced. Rae Carruth had his eight-month pregnant girlfriend shot four times. She died but the baby lived, suffering brain damage and cerebral palsy from an hour without oxygen. Colin Kaepernick? He didn’t stand up during a song. Nobody was harmed.

Political luminaries like Sarah Palin have gotten into the act, saying Kaepernick’s $50k donation to Meals-on-Wheels was a “cheap political stunt.” (You mean like nominating an unqualified dimwit to be your running mate?) I’ll bet the 80-year old disabled guy who can’t leave his house doesn’t care who paid for his meal.

Kaepernick has maintained that it’s never been about disrespecting veterans. But people say it’s the method of his protest, not the cause. I get it, the anthem is meant to represent noble ideals and we should show respect. Not many people criticize the cause itself. Isn’t this admitting that he has a point? If you felt such rage and passion over repeated injustices to your race, wouldn’t you use the most effective method you had at your disposal to get your message heard? It took bravery, it was never a good career move. Would his message have been spread as well by a interview in GQ?

I’m available

The flag and the anthem are great symbols, but they’re only symbols. The right of an individual to choose to use his right to protest a perceived injustice is a freedom. Suppressing Kaepernick’s and others’ views is a much bigger threat to the ideas represented by those symbols than not standing for the anthem. Isn’t the freedom more important than the symbol? Would you be more angry with me if I set fire to a picture of your grandmother or if I set fire to your grandmother?

Final Thoughts

So I vote no on blackballing, but it’s early. If he’s not signed or at least gotten some sniffs come summer, fish will be MAD stinking. Especially if I’m forced to watch Mark Sanchez play quarterback.

I know it’s a sensitive issue, but it’s more important to be nice than to be right (Andy Rooney). Come back tomorrow for our own cheap political stunt, Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit8 & @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

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About the Author ()

Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.

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