Even if you’re that rare NFL owner with sympathy for Kaepernick’s situation, a certain level of pragmatism has to be applied. Don’t forget that the fans who are paying a lot of money to see these teams play. Regardless of who he plays for, you can guarantee that fanbases would be split by Kaepernick signing for their team.
Kaepernick’s actions have offended many people. A significant number believe that he insulted all the military veterans in the United States. Of course, many fans are on the opposite side and stand by his political stance. But would an owner really want to create that level of tension in the stands? Probably not.
The reality of the situation is that a lot of Kaepernick’s teammates at the San Francisco 49ers actually didn’t like him. He wasn’t very popular in the changing room because he was aloof and withdrawn. Major NFL figures like Tom Brady have spoken out in support of the quarterback, but the lack of support from his former team members is conspicuous.
If Kaepernick genuinely wants to play again, then he has to resolve his own personal issues. Sure, he’s an incredibly influential figure today, but if nobody actually cares whether he’s there or not, then it’s just not going to work out. In short, he needs to warm up and be more of a team player.
We’ve already commented on his age being an issue. Then, with that age comes increased expense. Kaepernick isn’t going to play for free. With his massive Nike deal in place, Kaepernick sits on a fortune of over $40 million. Even if he loves football, at the end of the day he will want to earn what he believes he’s worth.
You can bet that the majority of NFL teams have no interest in matching those demands considering the length of time he’s been out of action. Several social justice groups have called him bigger than the NFL. He may be too expensive for franchisees to consider at this point.
Stephen A. Smith came under fire for criticizing Kaepernick for not wanting to play ball with the NFL. While Smith can come across badly at times, the ESPN analyst might actually have a point. First of all, he accused the former 49ers star of wanting to be a martyr and orchestrating the whole open workout for his own gain.
Even if you think that the NFL was doing their best to expunge him, Kaepernick definitely didn’t help matters by antagonizing them. It was a bold move to move the training venue outside the city to a facility where the media could attend. Do you think the NFL liked that?
This is a man who has received literal death threats. Do you think it’s a smart idea to put him on a playing field in front of 80,000 fans? We’ve all seen the Joker movie by now. There are some crazy people out there and it would be too easy for something terrible to happen to Kaepernick during a game.
If you don’t believe us, then think about the fact that his parents have also received death threats through their mailbox from all across the US. Ensuring his safety would be a fulltime job, especially if he ramps up the tension by continuing to kneel. To sum up, he’d need his own security detail.
It’s a fact that the overwhelming majority of NFL owners are white. They predominantly affiliate themselves with the Republican party. There are some high-profile exceptions like Paul Allen, but it does show that there is a political schism between Kaepernick and the bosses he’s hoping to impress.
Forget about them trying to punish him – even though they are. It’s more than that. When the likes of Robert McNair throw money at the GOP while President Trump calls for the suspension of players who take a knee, then there’s a clear divide. It’s just not going to work out.
We’ve alluded to this earlier, but many simply believe that Kaepernick is bigger than the NFL. In short, he is more than a football player now. Kaepernick is a social justice icon who may one day appear in history books. The impact of him taking a knee has yet to be determined. However, it could be a massive turning point in sports and politics.
He simply has so many options outside of football that there’s no need for him to return. Sure, he may still love the game but he’s making a difference off the field, creating conversations and bringing ideas to the attention of people across the US. Finally, that might be better for him.