Anybody want a 29-year-old NFL quarterback who has a Super Bowl appearance on his resume?
For Colin Kaepernick, at least for now, the answer is crickets. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who ignited a national debate over a political protest in which he refused to stand for the national anthem, remains a free agent, which has set off another controversy. Are owners refusing to sign him because of the political ramifications and the possibility of alienating fans? Spike Lee raised the question over the weekend and it was on the mind of President Trump Monday night. One of Kaepernick’s former NFL coaches says he’s worth whatever the risk would be.
Lee asked “how is it that there are 32 NFL teams and Kap is still a free agent?” in an Instagram photo posted after he had brunch with Kaepernick. “Smells MAD Fishy To Me, Stinks To The High Heavens. The New York J-E-T-S Need A Quarterback. Who Is The J-E-T-S Quarterback? Is My Man Joe Willie Namath Coming Back? Crazy Times We Live In. The Question Remains What Owner And GM Is Going To Step Up And Sign Colin So Their Team Has A Better Chance To WIN? What Crime Has Colin Committed? Look At The QB’s Of All 32 Teams. This Is Some Straight Up Shenanigans, Subterfuge, Skullduggery And BS. Ya-Dig? Sho-Nuff. By Any Means Necessary. And Dat’s Da NoFunLeague Truth, Ruth.”
During a speech Monday in Louisville, Trump speculated that owners’ fears were stoked by the possibility that they’d be mentioned in a “nasty” presidential tweet if they signed Kaepernick. “There was an article today, it was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump, do you believe that?” Trump said. “I just saw that,” he said, adding, “I said if I remember that one, I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky, because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag, right?”
Executives with multiple teams echoed that, saying at the recent NFL scouting combine that Kaepernick’s political statement would have to be at least considered by any organization.
“Certainly it’s a factor,” an executive with one organization told The Post’s Mark Maske. “Everything is a factor, especially at that position. You take everything into consideration. That’s the face of your franchise, as they say.”
Teams could just be waiting to see how the market shakes out after the NFL draft next month, but one executive at the combine told the Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman that Kaepernick is an “embarrassment to football.” That embarrassment could fade if a team suddenly needs a quarterback.
“He can still play at a high level,” one AFC general manager told Freeman. “The problem is three things are happening with him. “First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number around 20 percent.
“Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.
“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”
Some see a quarterback market that is still working itself with the NFL draft a little over a month away. Joe Banner, the ESPN analyst who formerly was an executive with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, tweeted of Kaepernick, “This is a backup QB one week into. I am not convinced of the cause and effect.”
Despite a slow start in 2016 after having offseason surgery on his knee and thumb, Kaepernick regained the starting job and has the backing of former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who says he tells NFL teams that call with inquiries to sign Kaepernick.
“I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player,” the Michigan coach told PFT Live.
“He’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback, win championships.”
While he waits for a call from an NFL team, Kaepernick spent some time helping with the “Turkish Airlines Help Somalia” drive to send food, water and aid to help alleviate the country’s famine.