Is it finally over for Colin Kaepernick?
OPINION: Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who has a QB opening now that Russell Wilson is gone, once believed Kaepernick deserved a second chance. But Carroll's recent comments suggest he’s not going to give him a shot.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
The only team that’s given Colin Kaepernick a workout since 2016 has an opening at quarterback, his position.
Kaepernick, who has trained nonstop and received a rave this week from a player on the team, still wants to play.
Seems simple enough. But the head coach—Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks—sounds awfully confused.
“Does that guy deserve a second shot? I think he does. Somewhere.” Carroll told reporters Wednesday after saying Kaepernick asked for a tryout. “I don’t know if it’s here. I don’t know where it is. I don’t know if it’s even in football. I don’t know.”
But we know. Actions talk and BS walks, and the NFL is full of it. The league has wanted no parts of Kaepernick since he protested social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, his last NFL season.
Funny how Carroll was crystal clear in 2017 after bringing him in for a workout. “He’s a starter in this league, and we have a starter,” the coach told reporters. “But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine that somebody won’t give him a chance to play.” Carroll wasn’t perplexed in June 2020 either, expressing regret that Seattle didn’t sign him three years earlier. “The reason it wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard,” he said. “I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback, and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with [Russell Wilson].”
Now that Wilson is gone and there’s a gaping hole at QB, Carroll isn’t certain about the fit. If that’s the attitude from a one-time supporter, we can’t imagine anyone else giving Kaepernick a chance, though they should.
There’s nothing to lose by seeing if he can still play like Seattle wideout Tyler Lockett suggested Monday in a tweet: “Yessir!! That man Kap is ready!!” There’s no guarantee that any player would regain top form at Kaepernick’s age (34) after a five-year layoff. But that’s the purpose of physical exams, workouts, and training camp.
Teams will give your grandfather a shot if they think Pop-Pop might help.
Last season, Jacksonville brought 33-year-old Tim Tebow to training camp after a nine-year layoff. In 2018, Washington signed journeyman QB Josh Johnson, who hadn’t thrown a regular-season pass in seven years. In 2010, a 33-year-old ex-Marine who didn’t play college football until age 29 was invited to a New York Giants mini-camp.
Training camps are populated each year by hundreds of guys who’ll never spend one second in an NFL regular-season game. Some of that is pure math. Extra bodies are needed for practices as teams work their way to the final roster. It’s not uncommon to have four quarterbacks when training camp opens, with two typically making the squad.
Is Kaepernick capable of being one of those of 64 QBs? Probably.
Is there an NFL owner willing to allow such a move? Probably not.
He’d have a better chance if 22 massage therapists accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Teams would rather face fallout for adding a three-time Pro Bowler like Deshaun Watson than kicking the tires on a player who riles a portion of fans for being “unpatriotic.”
Surprise, surprise—the NFL can’t shake racism. Carroll says Kaepernick deserves a chance; commissioner Roger Goodell says he agrees, adding that Black coaches also deserve shots at top spots. Yet, here we are, with Kaepernick unemployed and assistant coaches like Brian Flores and Eric Bieniemy underemployed.
Hiring the next Tony Dungy or Lovie Smith—Black coaches who squared off in Super Bowl 41—doesn’t take the courage necessary to bring in Kaepernick. He’s been blackballed for five years now, and not one owner has shown the intestinal fortitude to stand up against their colluding peers and irrational fans.
Instead, teams continue to take the safe (and sorry) route, giving QB jobs to has-beens and never-weres. Presumably, Kaepernick will continue to workout and put his case on tape while pursuing endeavors in business, entertainment and social justice.
According to Fox Sports broadcaster and former NFL player Marcellus Wiley, Kaepernick should concentrate on the latter. “You got a better chance of stopping racism than playing again,” Wiley tweeted last week.
I don’t like the odds of either.
An award-winning columnist and a principal of BlackDoor Ventures, Inc., Deron Snyder is a veteran journalist, stratcomm professional, author, and adjunct professor. A native of Brooklyn and an Alpha from H.U.-You Know, he resides in metropolitan DC with his wife, Vanessa, mother of their daughters, Sierra and Sequoia. To learn more, please visit blackdoorventures.com/deron.
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