Jimmy Smith: Kaepernick would ‘divide locker room, team needs Tebow’

"He's going to be a great support for Trevor Lawrence."

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Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith has weighed in on the uproar over the team’s decision to sign Tim Tebow to a one-year contract rather than Colin Kaepernick.

Speaking with TMZ Sports, Smith explained why Tebow is a better fit for the Jaguars, telling the outlet, “We don’t need Colin Kaepernick on our team” because he would “divide our locker room.”

Read More: Fans call out hypocrisy as Tebow returns to NFL while Kaepernick is still out

“We need a guy like Tim Tebow,” Smith said, “who’s a hometown hero who has love for the city anyway.”

Colin Kaepernick (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

As theGrio previously reported, after a six-year break from professional football, Tebow, 33, signed a one-year contract with the Jaguars and will play as a tight end, per CBS Sports. The news comes as an insult to supporters of Kaepernick, who has not played in the NFL since January 2017. He also filed a complaint against the organization alleging that owners were blackballing him in October 2017, according to a timeline compiled by ABC 7 News

Critics have spoken out against the double standard applied to Kaepernick and Tebow, citing that at 33, both players are the same age, and both have spent time away from the league, yet Kaepernick remains ousted. In addition, as a tight end, Tebow will also be playing in a position he hasn’t played before.

One Twitter user reacted to the news with: “This is all for ticket sales and marketing.  They draft Trevor and then sign Tebow.  There’s no way that this makes business sense for a NFL team. Jacksonville just wants attention. That’s all this is.”

Another user wrote: “Man Tim Tebow is the one football player that has accomplished absolutely nothing in the nfl but gets press. But a offesive lineman beats a black woman and we have tp search for that shit. Ian please no one cares.”

A third tweeted, “Good for Tebow. Let ppl hate. Tebow won’t hear it. This is about a mentorship with the opportunity for him to continue to prove people wrong. Nobody is going to outwork him and his work ethic will become contagious. Solid move by Urban who’s trying to create a new culture.”

To which a commenter replied, “He never proves us wrong. He has been consistently mediocre. There are plenty of veterans who can come in and help with the culture while also being able to complete a pass unlike Tebow.”

Read More: Colin Kaepernick to publish book on abolishing the police

“Tim Tebow has gotten to fail at being an NFL QB, a minor league baseball player and an NFL TE—at age 33 despite never playing the position And YET … I don’t even gotta say it.” said sportswriter Tyler Conway.

Football player Dez Bryant, who is a free agent like Kaepernick, also shared his confusion on Twitter. 

“So Tebow haven’t played an NFL game in damn near a decade and it’s that simple…no hate but you got to be kidding me,” he wrote.

Smith tells TMZ that there’s no racism behind the team’s decision to go with Tebow. He simply believes Kaepernick’s presence would not have a positive impact on the young players. 

“He’s going to be a great support for Trevor Lawrence,” Smith said of Tebow. “Whatever capacity that is, it’s going to be a positive rather than a negative.”

Smith continued, “I pray that he makes the 53-man roster, because we need all we can get.”

Hear more from Smith about the controversy via the YouTube clip above.

theGrio’s Sytonia Reid contributed to this report.

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