WASHINGTON, DC – When it comes to politics and athletes, there are two basic schools of thought. 1. The guy can hit a baseball 500 feet, that doesn’t make him an expert on Israeli Palestinian relations. 2. Athletes are role models and should stand up for what they think is right.
The Greatest and His Airness
Mohammad Ali was the shining example of the latter. His fierce opposition to the Vietnam War made him a pariah until most people realized he had a point. He died a legend.
Michael Jordan was well known for his reluctance to get into politics. He denies ever having said the quote widely attributed to him, “Republicans buy sneakers too.” But he did refuse to publicly endorse the Democrat in the North Carolina Senate race against Jesse Helms, an openly racist politician. North Carolina’s favorite son could have made the difference in a close race.
Athletes should be free to express their feelings and opinions without fear of workplace reprisals. As long as it’s legal and respectful, we should be able to root for players of all political persuasions. Right?
Looking For Work
Which reminds me, Colin Kaepernick still does not have a job. Kaepernick is a 29-year old in the prime of his career who runs like a gazelle and throws with a cannon arm. He’s an experienced QB who had led his team to a Super Bowl and an NFC Championship. Last season he played relatively well for a team with fewer weapons than the 2017 Jets. Let’s take a look at three QBs from last year.
1. 59%, 197.1 ypg, 15-16 TD/INT, 72.2 rating
2. 56.6%, 193.6 ypg, 12-17 TD/INT, 69.6 rating
3. 59.2%, 186.8 ypg, 16-4 TD/INT, 90.7 rating
The first is Brock Osweiler, who may be starting for the Cleveland Browns making $18 million this season. The second is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is spite of his horrific year, was quickly scooped up the Bucs for $3 million. The third is Kaepernick. Let’s remember that Jeremy Kerley was his top target. A 90+ QB rating and a 16 to 4 TD to Int ratio is pretty impressive on that team.
It’s a league starved for QBs and every free agent with a few snaps under his belt or the slightest hint of potential has long been signed. I’m talking about studs like Case Keenum, Landry Jones, and EJ Manuel. He’s better than at least 75% of the QBs who will be in NFL camps. It’s ridiculous that Kaepernick does not have a job. Even the man he beat out, Blain Gabbert, was picked up by Arizona. We’re talking about a non-violent protest that directly affected exactly zero people. Do you really mean to tell me that you feel better about Mark Sanchez coming off your bench with the game on the line?
Tony D From Jersey
The New York Rangers just traded for Anthony DeAngelo, an unabashed Trump supporter. DeAngelo is a player who has gotten in trouble for using racist and homophobic slurs to his teammates, referees, and opponents. He’s Tony D from Jersey. I’m all for second chances, but this guy has been in trouble everywhere he’s been. He’s 21 and has already been traded twice. Maybe he’s grown as a person, and several former coaches have stood up for him. But a quick look at his Twitter feed has dulled my optimism. I hope he’s a changed man. I can live with a Trump supporter on my beloved Rangers (I think), but the Blueshirts need to have a zero tolerance policy for racism or homophobia.
Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, a man who is generally too drunk to stand for the National Anthem. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.