Colin Kaepernick is still out of work, but having made millions in the NFL, he’s more concerned with others looking for employment. The former 49ers quarterback was recently spotted handing out free suits outside of a parole office in New York.
Kaepernick was partnering with 100 Suits, an organization that aims to reduce recidivism rates by working with “formerly incarcerated individuals, homeless individuals, gang members and survivors of domestic violence,” and offering “free business attire to men and women who are in the job search process.” According to 100 Suits, “By being able to wear appropriate suits to their interviews, these men and women are better equipped to achieve gainful employment, which will ultimately help them to transition into mainstream society and live more productive lives.”
The organization said that Kaepernick dropped off two large boxes of custom-made suits at a parole office in the borough of Queens. The quarterback’s youth-focused initiative, Know Your Rights Camp, noted, “While he waits to see if he’ll get signed, Kaepernick is keeping up with his commitment to help empower communities in need.”
— KnowYourRightsCamp (@yourrightscamp) May 1, 2017
Kaepernick has been unemployed since opting out of his contract with San Francisco shortly before the start of the NFL’s free agency period in March. Despite the fact that he is only 29, has led teams to a Super Bowl and multiple conference title games, and posted solid statistics last year (16 touchdowns, four interceptions, 90.7 passer rating) on a talent-deficient 49ers squad, Kaepernick has yet to latch on with a team.
Many observers believe that his outspoken political views, and, in particular, his national anthem protests last season, have caused the quarterback to be effectively blackballed by the league, even though he reportedly plans on discontinuing those protests. President Trump, who has exchanged verbal barbs with Kaepernick, happily referred to a report in March that “NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump.”
Shortly after Trump’s comments, Jim Harbaugh, the Michigan head coach who enjoyed great success with the 49ers and Kaepernick, said that the quarterback “has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player.” Meanwhile, John Harbaugh, the Ravens head coach who bested his brother in Super Bowl XLVII, declared it “intellectually lazy” to assume that Kaepernick was being deliberately ignored by NFL teams, calling the situation more “complicated” and “nuanced” than that.
There are certainly plausible, nonpolitical reasons for NFL teams to think twice about signing Kaepernick. His play in 2015 deteriorated to the point where he was benched in favor of journeyman Blaine Gabbert, he struggles to throw with touch and consistent accuracy and (less plausibly) some organizations are concerned about his vegan diet.
Now that the NFL has staged its draft, teams that went into it with needs at quarterback have more clarity on their situations, so that could lead to Kaepernick receiving an offer. Alternatively, he may have to wait until another quarterback gets injured, or he could even decide to ply his trade in Canada.
As that sorts itself out, Kaepernick is following up on the pledge he made last season to donate $1 million, plus the proceeds from his jersey sales, to certain community-oriented charities. Since then, per his website, he has contributed to organizations such as Mothers Against Police Brutality, Black Youth Project, Appetite For Change, Center For Reproductive Rights and Meals on Wheels. Kaepernick also helped raise funds to send food, water and aid to famine-stricken Somalia.
In December, Kaepernick’s then-teammates on the 49ers voted to give him an annual team award based on exemplifying “inspirational and courageous play.”