According to his apologists, Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed because he is being blackballed by the NFL teams. Such a claim may be emotionally appealing to those apologists, but what is emotionally appealing isn’t necessarily true.

In his Sports Illustrated column “Colin Kaepernick Blackball? NFL Team Executives Explain Why That Theory Doesn’t Stand Up” Albert Breer goes strait to the source and gives the real story.

“I went to teams that would have had reason to kick the tires on backup or stopgap starter-level quarterbacks, and granted anonymity in pursuit of honesty. And so we’re going to bring you the reasons a number of these teams decided it was unnecessary to even go to ownership with the possibility of signing Kaepernick, not so much to prove the point I’ve been trying to make, but rather to illustrate why his situation is more complicated than many want to concede.”

To summarize what Breer learned, Kaepernick isn’t as good of a quarterback as his apologists claim he is. Greer quotes one AFC executive as saying, “If someone feels like this guy can help win games, he’ll be in the league.”

Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Farmer discovered the same thing during his own investigation into why Kaepernick is still unemployed. In “Is Colin Kaepernick being frozen out in the NFL? Depends on who you ask” Farmer writes, “While I do believe the kneeling protest and others — the Fidel Castro T-shirt, the socks depicting police officers as pigs — have completely dissuaded some NFL owners from signing Kaepernick, I do not believe owners have colluded with each other on that. With most, if they felt he was a player they needed to win, they would sign him.”

Farmer quotes Pro Football Hall of Fame member Warren Moon as saying about Kaepernick, “Then there’s certain offenses that he just can’t play in. He’s just not good enough to play in those types of offenses where you have to really go through your read progressions, throwing the ball down the field.”

An NFL team personnel executive who spoke on condition of anonymity says about Kaepernick, “He’s not a natural type of pocket passer. He throws a very hard ball to catch. He throws a lot of fastballs, not a lot of touch. He was good when they had a good offensive line to run the ball like crazy, and the best defense in the league. So there are multiple issues to signing him. He’s not good enough to tolerate, basically.”

In his 06/07/17 column for Sports Illustrated, Andy Benoit explains the weaknesses that Kaepernick has as a quarterback. Benoit begins by saying, “First off, what you’re about to read has zero to do with Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the National Anthem. For proof, here’s an article that I wrote in March 2016, before the protest, saying that Kaepernick would be out of the NFL before he won another 10 games as a starter. That forecast appears to be coming true, because Kaepernick can’t even find work as a backup. And it’s mostly due to the same reason he couldn’t find work as a starter: teams don’t think he’s good enough.”

Over at Out Kick the Coverage, Clay Travis explains what other than playing ability may be contributing to Kaepernick’s unemployment:

“I’m no expert on political stances that unemployed NFL quarterbacks should embrace on Twitter to ensure that they have a chance to play in the league again, but comparing modern day police officers to slave catchers probably isn’t helpful. Yet that’s exactly what Colin Kaepernick did . . . So for Colin Kaepernick, who worked out last year in socks picturing police as pigs and praised Fidel Castro while taking a knee for the national anthem, his decision to compare modern day police officers to slave catchers is likely to ensure that his NFL career is over. Say what you will about his protest before the national anthem, but this Tweet is far more incendiary and offensive to the vast majority of NFL fans than his protest even was. If an NFL team wasn’t willing to employ him before this Tweet, why would any NFL team employ him now?”

So, Kaepernick apologists need a clue. It isn’t just his sitting and kneeling during the National Anthem that makes Kaepernick controversial, and he isn’t talented enough as a quarterback to make him worth any baggage that he would bring with him if he were hired by a team.

Sure, Kaepernick could still be hired by a team sometime during the 2017 season, but if he isn’t, then so be it. No person has a right to be a professional football player.

David Robertson
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