The Kaep Fiasco

Colin Kaepernick not finding a new home has been a hot topic of debate all offseason. Now that the Seattle Seahawks have expressed interest in the Nevada alum, the debate has found new life.

In an interview with Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB, Mara told Vrentas that he received multiple letters from Giants fans stating that they would be angry if a Giants player protested like Kaepernick had done.

“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” says Giants co-owner John Mara, who for 24 years has worked for the team his family founded. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, more so than any other issue I’ve run into.”

The Giants never even discussed bringing the controversial QB into their organization. Still, fans make it known they didn’t want Kaep on their team.

Everyone views what Kaep did differently. Some see him as a hero, who stood up for their community, and made a statement no one else was brave enough to make. While others disagree with the way he made his protest.

Many see what he did, kneeling during the national anthem to protest the treatment of African Americans in America; as a slap in the face of those who have died defending that flag, and everything that it stands for.

But should he be punished for this by NFL teams? Should Kaepernick be “blacklisted” for “standing up” for what he believes in?

There’s no doubt Kaepernick has the talent to be a starter. He knows what it’s like to start in a Super Bowl. Throughout his career, he has thrown for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns, with 30 interceptions. So it’s not that his stats are horrible.

Aside from his controversial stance, the biggest knock against Kaep is that the last few years in San Francisco it seemed that he didn’t care. He wasn’t trying as hard as he was when Jim Harbaugh was in San Francisco. When Harbaugh left, it seemed, so did Kaepernick’s drive.

Teams are understandably wary of bringing him in, fearing the same might happen. No GM wants to bring in a player with a history of giving up when things get tough. Even if he does think things will be different under his tutelage. Because, if at the end of it all, the same thing happens, there’s always the possibility that it will make that GM look incompetent and cause him to lose his job. No one wants to take a risk that will cause them to lose their job.

Even with all the negative, there are players that support his cause.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith, Kaepernick’s former teammate on the 49ers, now with the Eagles spoke out in support on Twitter. “It’s amazing what folks consider going too far,” Smith said, “You can do all kinds of crazy things and get a 2nd chance but you can’t get over a protest?” Smith would go on to say, “My issue really isn’t just the hate on Kap…it’s what folks prioritize as wrong….hit a woman cool…sexual assault cool…kneel OH NO.”

Smith brings up a very valid point. Multiple players have gotten away with, legally speaking, much worse. Former Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis was accused of rape, yet he still was able to play and went on to have a Hall of Fame career. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of sexual assault on two separate occasions, yet continues to play. Former Ravens running back Ray Rice is the only player of late to lose his job over serious criminal allegations. Not counting the multiple players who have been caught using recreational drugs. Somehow though, Kaepernick has yet to convince a team he is worthy of a second chance.

There in lies the problem. Legal issues are just that legal. Fans can be outraged that their favorite player, or even just a player on their favorite team, got caught doing something illegal. But the result is out of their hands. It’s up to the legal system, to do what it will. This isn’t a legal matter though. Kaepernick has done nothing illegal. To many, what Kaepernick has done is immoral.

Therefore, many fans feel it is up to them to make sure Kaepernick never gets on the field again. They feel they have the power to keep him off the field, and in many ways they do. Teams have to listen to their fans. True there are times when doing whats right for the team, trumps what the fans think is right. However, doing something you think could be great for the team, if it angers the majority of your fan base, it isn’t the right way to go.

As alluded to before, many see Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem as a slap in the face to those who have died defending our great nation. As a former service member, I tend to agree with them. However, I also understand that he has every right to do what he did. I don’t agree with it, but it’s his right all the same.

So, does Kaepernick deserve to be blacklisted for his stances? No. He has all the talent to be a starter, but the question then becomes: Will his off-field, or pregame, antics be a distraction to the team? Will they cause the team to be divided, and lose focus, thus causing the team to lose on Sundays. As a team, do you want to take that risk?

Seattle already has enough distractions. The Richard Sherman fiasco, with him, no longer wanting to be a part of the team. Now he’s also taken shots at star quarterback Russell Wilson. Saying it was Wilsons fault they lost Super Bowl XLIX. While it was Wilson who threw the game ending interception. Most of the blame has to go on the coaching staff for not giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the two-yard line. But that’s a tired argument.

Still, though, Kaepernick, deserves another shot. If players, with serious legal issues, can get another shot. Then why shouldn’t someone who fights for what he believes in get another shot? That’s a much better quality to have than being a lawbreaker.