Kaepernick: Mediocre QB or Blackball Victim | WYPR

Kaepernick: Mediocre QB or Blackball Victim

Apr 10, 2017

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017.
Credit AP Photo/Tony Avelar

One of the most intriguing questions of the NFL offseason has been is Colin Kaepernick being blackballed?

For most of the first six years of his career, Kaepernick was the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.

Baltimore football fans should remember that it was Kaepernick that got the Niners to within a drive of tying or winning the 2012 Super Bowl against the Ravens.

In the following season, Kaepernick helped lead San Francisco to the NFC championship game and a narrow loss to Seattle.

Kaepernick not only possesses a strong arm, but, at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he has a frame that makes him a dual threat, namely a quarterback who can run.

Though his previous two seasons were subpar, Kaepernick had a decent 2016 campaign, tossing 16 touchdowns with only four interceptions, which some could take as a solid rationale for him to return to San Francisco for 2017.

That is, except the new Niners coach, Kyle Shanahan, has indicated that he would like to take the team in a different offensive direction.

No worries. There are plenty of quarterback openings around the NFL, and Kaepernick ought to be a good fit for one of them, right?

I mean, at least seven teams are in either desperate or at least a heightened need for a quarterback for next year.

The worst quarterback mess may exist in Houston, where the Texans, who have a Super Bowl caliber defense and solid players at other offensive positions, have no quarterback.

The Texans traded last year’s quarterback, Brock Osweiler, whom they got in free agency before the 2016 season, only to discover that he, well, stinks.

Houston’s management apparently hoped that Tony Romo, a former starter in Dallas, would be cut from the Cowboys roster, and fall into their lap.

However, Romo decided last week that he would join CBS as an analyst, leaving the Texans high and dry.

It would seem that there should be some place for Colin Kaepernick to hang his hat in the league next year.

But, if you know his name for something other than quarterbacking, you know it for his famous decision last season to kneel rather than stand during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

That stance, as it were, was one of the more celebrated events of last year and drew comment from all corners of the football and political landscape.

Many speculated that Kaepernick might pay a big political and financial price when it came time for him to look for a new place to play, especially with his contract ending after the 2016 season.

Kaepernick has the bad fortune to be a liberal in a league where owners gave Republican presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012 more than $700,000, while giving about $180,000 to former President Obama.

And Texans owner Bob McNair led the pack by far, giving 99 percent of his $3.5 million in contributions from 2008 to 2014 to Republican candidates and causes.

Even President Trump has weighed in on the situation, claiming that owners are avoiding signing Kaepernick fearing a White House Twitter storm.

If it’s true that everything has a price, Colin Kaepernick may find out just how much having a social conscience can cost you.

And that’s how I see it for this week. You can reach us via e-mail with your questions and comments at Sports at Large at gmail.com. And follow me on Twitter at Sports at Large.

Until next week, for all of us here, I’m Milton Kent. Thanks for listening and enjoy the games.