It’s now one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the NFL offseason. Former Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed after he opted out of his contract for the 2017 season. Not only this, Kaepernick has received legitimately no interest on the free-agent market.
This, despite the fact that he’s coming off a 2016 campaign that saw him tally 18 total touchdowns compared to four interceptions.
All the while, the likes of Geno Smith, Josh Johnson, EJ Manuel and Matt Barkley, all lesser quarterbacks by every definition of the term, have caught on with teams.
One really has to wonder whether the Kaepernick-led national anthem protests that started this past summer is playing a role in the lack of interest in his services.
Remember, it was just a few short weeks ago that one NFL executive called Kaepernick “an embarrassment” to the NFL (more on that here).
Once Kaepernick did opt out of his contract, it was announced that he would stand for the anthem next season. This came amid reports that teams told the quarterback they would not sign him if he continued to protest.
Now comes this startling information from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman regarding the lack of interest in Kaepernick on the free-agent market.
“Some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or (President Donald) Trump will tweet about the team,” Freeman noted. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.”
We already know the president’s stance on Kaepernick’s protest. That was made clear when he was a candidate for the nation’s highest office last year.
“I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him,” Trump said back in August. “Let him try, it won’t happen.”
Considering Trump’s political leanings, this really can’t be seen as a surprise. Him and Kaepernick are on completely different sides of the ledger when it comes to all things social in the United States.
That some teams fear a backlash from mainstream America following a hypothetical tweet from the president is more interesting. We know Trump is active on social media. It’s certainly been a point of contention since he’s become president. For his part, Kaepernick himself is very active on social media as well.
The larger-scare point that should be made here is that Kaepernick is surely receiving a lack of interest primarily due to his off-field stances.
As Freeman put it, some teams still think the quarterback can play at a high level.
The longer this offseason plays out without Kaepernick signing, the more we will see this debate arise around the football world. It’s surely an interesting dynamic to look at, one that will be furthered even more should Kaepernick not land on his feet before the 2017 season comes calling.