LeSean McCoy said Thursday that Colin Kaepernick is “not good enough” as a football player to make it worth NFL teams having to deal with the “chaos” he would bring. Speaking to reporters in the Bills’ locker room, the running back offered extensive comments on Kaepernick’s inability to find employment.
Many believe that the former 49ers quarterback, who became a free agent in March, is essentially being blackballed by the NFL because of his protests during the national anthem last season, which sparked politically tinged discussions and alienated some fans. To McCoy, a five-time Pro Bowler entering his ninth season, there could be some merit to that point, but he claimed it overlooked Kaepernick’s deficiencies in ability.
“It’s a lot more than just he’s not on the team because he doesn’t want to stand for the national anthem,” McCoy said (via WKBW). “That may have something to do with it, but I think also it has a lot to do with his play. I’m sure a lot of teams wouldn’t want him as their starting quarterback. That chaos that comes along with it, it’s a lot.
“As a team, trying to win and not have a distraction on the team, I just take that as a player — there’s certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there’s other players that they’re not good enough or it’s not worth it. I think his situation is not good enough to have him on the team with all the attention that comes along with it. I’m sure if a guy like [Tom] Brady or a guy like, whoever is your favorite player — Odell Beckham or a guy like that — you’ll deal with that attention and play him.”
McCoy added that players could perhaps “choose a better platform to state their beliefs.”
McCoy was asked about a former teammate in Philadelphia, Michael Vick, who made it back into the NFL despite serving prison time for his role in a dogfighting ring. To the running back, there was no comparison between Vick and Kaepernick.
“He’s 10 times better than Kaepernick,” McCoy said. “You’ll deal with that situation, that attention, that media aspect of it. The good, the bad attention you’ll get. Compared to Kaepernick, it’s like, he’s not really that good of a player to deal with.
“So people outside of sports don’t really know that. They see only one side of black guy standing up for a good reason, but the NFL is against him, but I think it’s more than that. I think it has to do with some of that. But also, dealing with him on the team you’re trying to build together. There’s so many outsiders can mess up a team. I can see both sides, I really can.”
Some observers have made the case that the fuss over Kaepernick is entirely overblown, pointing to his subpar throwing accuracy, by NFL standards, and possible difficulties running complex offenses. While the quarterback led San Francisco to a Super Bowl and a conference title game in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he managed just a 3-16 record with the 49ers over the past two seasons.
Those recent 49ers squads have been widely judged as poor in overall talent, though, and they went 4-9 with other quarterbacks. To hundreds of protesters at a pro-Kaepernick rally Wednesday, issues of his relative talent were secondary to outrage over the belief that the quarterback is being punished for his social activism.
The NAACP participated in the rally, and it sent a letter to the NFL requesting a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss how to go about “protecting players from being unfairly persecuted for their political beliefs.” Kaepernick took to social media to salute those who showed up at the league’s New York headquarters to support him.
To McCoy, all that support, plus all the vitriol, made Kaepernick a special case for teams, one not special enough on the field to justify a roster spot. “I just don’t think a guy like him — a great example you used for Michael Vick, and I was on that team, and I haven’t seen more media for a player like that ever,” he told reporters.
“And we’ll deal with a guy like Michael Vick or LeBron James. You’re going to deal with them, that attention, good or bad, positive or negative, compared to a guy like Kaepernick, who’s just okay. He’s an okay player, you know? He might not make certain teams.”