Kaepernick’s relationship with the NFL appears doomed. Nothing about that open workout in Atlanta was usual. Imagine that phone call? Only three days of preparation says it all. Nor did it make sense that it was on a Saturday, as teams were preparing for their games.
The player was able to take back some control by changing the venue to an hour outside the Falcon’s home in central Atlanta. But this meant that there were fewer teams in attendance for the workout. From all of this, you can see just how ridiculously petty their squabble has become.
The quarterback’s deal with Nike is absolutely massive. Kaepernick never needs to work again because he’s a very wealthy man. The apparel company almost dropped him before realizing that would be a massive mistake. Instead, they made the decision to reduce their relationship with the NFL.
Kaepernick has his own range of clothes and shoes under the Nike label. 80 million people have seen the advertisement he starred in for the company. Nike’s decision is purely pragmatic. Kaepernick inspires a lot of inner-city kids. That’s their target market. He’s worth potentially billions to the sports brand.
Kaepernick is a massively influential figure in today’s world. Appearing at the US Open and the Met Gala, he was also in that award-winning Nike ad. He’s famed for wearing clothing designed by black creators, giving them a wider profile. With all of this social influence, would it make sense to go back to football?
Perhaps he’s better off just continuing with his social work because that’s what is making a real difference. Sure, taking a knee and protesting the anthem was the catalyst that put him on this path. But maybe it’s time to take a different route and leave football behind for good.
NFL chiefs show no signs of wanting to back down anytime in the near future. They are blackballing Kaepernick. There are at least three teams in the division with no excuse for not offering him a contract. Effectively, they’re punishing him for taking a stance during the anthem.
They also don’t care if they’re committing self-harm by bringing in an immensely talented player to the fold. He still holds the NFL records for most rushing yards in a single game and in a single postseason by a quarterback. To sum up, they’d rather lose matches than lose face by admitting they need him.
It’s worth pointing out that Kaepernick is 32 now. Sure, his body hasn’t taken a lot of damage over the past two years, but he will soon be past his athletic prime. Will he be sharp enough to get back into game shape if a team decides to take a gamble on him? As the months pass by, that will become increasingly difficult for him.
Another massive issue is that many franchises would prefer to have a young rookie on their roster rather than a free agent veteran with a ton of baggage. It might already be too late for Kaepernick to convince NFL teams that he has a future in the game and is worth a massive contract.
You could also say that he’s too good for many of the teams that would like him. This is a man who just played for the San Francisco 49ers. Moving to the Jacksonville Jaguars, for example, would be a step down. He might not be at his former level, but does he think he’s too good to play for those weaker franchises?
Kaepernick is very comfortable at the moment in California. Can teams really offer him what he wants? He played in a Super Bowl with the 49ers. It would be a backward step because he’s been so close to the top.
Many believe that if Kaepernick came back to the NFL, he’d have to tone down his rhetoric and reactions. That would definitely go against his principles. You can bet that NFL owners would attempt to assert their dominance over him by warning him what is acceptable and not acceptable at their teams.
Kaepernick is not going to allow anybody to tell him what he can’t do. This is one of the biggest issues preventing him from returning because he’s going to continue drawing attention to himself. Is he wrong to do so? No, that’s entirely his choice under the first amendment. But it’s not going to make it easier for him to find a job.
Would all of the attention on Kaepernick be good for dressing room morale? We’ve spoken about how he’s a divisive figure. Well, that would apply to his fellow professionals as well. At the end of the day, they’re just people as well. That means they’ll all have their own political ideals which could create tension and drama.
Not every NFL player supports him. Some of them come from military families and disagree when their teammates take a knee. Bringing Kaepernick into the fold is a guaranteed way to invoke conflict between the players who are already there. It might not seem fair, but it’s a fact.
As time goes on, fewer people will care about Kaepernick’s story. Many have already forgotten how good he is – or was. After all, he did help the 49ers to a Super Bowl. However, the media has changed from five years ago. Suddenly, the world has become oversaturated with new stories. Nobody cares about the old ones.
As the days pass by, his story will become less significant. It’s no longer fresh or shocking in the same way. Sure, he can make a difference but the media isn’t fixated on this story in the way that it once was. The NFL will hope that this will just cause everybody to forget about him.
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.