Give This Man a Job
Colin Kaepernick has been officially vindicated.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell admitted Friday that the league made a mistake when it silenced players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against people of color. Now it’s time for the owners to do what is right and end their blatant blackballing campaign against the former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback.
Other players who kneeled during the 2016 season, Kaepernick’s last, have been hired to play elsewhere. So why not Kaepernick?
The NFL is supposed to be a meritocracy. There are 32 teams, all of whom usually bring four quarterbacks into their training camps. It would be hard to argue that even after his long layoff, a still relatively young Kaepernick, 32, is not one of the best 128 QBs on the planet. It’s hard to argue he isn’t among the top 64, assuming all teams keep two QBs on their active rosters.
Even Nathan Peterman, one of the worst NFL quarterbacks of all-time, currently has a job with the Las Vegas Raiders. There is not a single person, who with a straight face, can argue Peterman is better than Kaepernick.
During the 1960s, boxing champion Muhammad Ali took an unpopular stance against the Vietnam War and racism against black people. He was vilified for it, stripped of his title and convicted of evading the military draft.
By the time the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, he had not fought for four years, almost the exact same amount of time since Kaepernick last took the field at the end of the 2016 season. Ali came back and knocked out George Foreman in 1974 to regain the title. There’s no reason why a Kaepernick comeback couldn’t be just as successful.
By the time Ali died, Americans viewed him as a hero and national treasure. The passage of time proved that he was on the correct side of history. We are seeing a similar scenario play out with Kaepernick. As a diverse group of people continue protesting police brutality for an 11th consecutive day in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Kaepernick’s courage and sacrifice is truly coming into focus.
Goodell is now talking the talk, but the owners must walk the walk. That means someone needs to sign him. There are plenty of teams desperate for QB help, and as players start getting injured, as they do every season, that need will grow.
It’s entirely possible Kaepernick could be washed up after not having played for so long, but someone must do the right thing and give him the opportunity to prove he’s still got it. If the NFL was wrong to silence the players who protested, as Goodell just said, then that error in judgment will only be compounded if teams continue to freeze out the movement’s leader. History has already proven Kaepernick was right all along.
His stance was just ahead of its time.