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Roger Goodell denies NFL teams are blackballing Colin Kaepernick

NFL gambling, Roger Goodell
Courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski, USA Today Sports

With the first NFL preseason game having already been completed, former Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed.

The divisive figure has reportedly drawn interest from both the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins in recent days, but no signing appears to be imminent.

On the field, there’s really no reason why Kaepernick himself is unemployed. He put up 18 total touchdowns compared to four interceptions for the San Francisco 49ers last season. His previous success far outpaces what we have seen from other street free agents who have signed contracts this spring and summer.

Though, there’s a lot more to the Kaepernick’ saga than his play itself. Are NFL teams avoiding him simply due to the National Anthem protest he led last season? Is the league as a whole blackballing the embattled veteran?

If we were to ask NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell his opinion on this, the answer itself remains as clear as day.

“No, teams make decisions (based) on what’s in the best interest of their team … and they make those decisions individually,” Goodell said at a fan forum in Denver, via ABC News.

For his part, Goodell isn’t going to simply come out publicly and state that Kaepernick is being blackballed. And in reality, there’s no concrete evidence that suggests the quarterback is.

Teams do make the decisions that are best for them on the field. That much is already known. And no matter how much success Kaepernick has had in the past, he is limited. He’s a scheme-specific quarterback that has struggled with consistent accuracy in the past. Simply put, Kaepernick will not have success as a traditional drop-back quarterback.

Does any of this explain away why Kaepernick is still unemployed? No.

He’s more accomplished than any quarterback that signed a free agent contract during the spring. But as we mentioned above, there are other circumstances that come into play here.

Let’s say Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is in fact lost for the season. On the field, Kaepernick would be a major upgrade over backup Matt Moore. It’s hard to argue against that.

Though, based on the dynamic of the Miami area and how Cuban immigrants view the late Fidel Castro, Kaepernick’s willingness to support the former dictator could be seen as an issue.

That’s where this whole thing gets a bit murky. Sure teams would love to upgrade on the field at quarterback. In no way does that mean they will risk alienating their fan base. After all, fans are the consumers of the product. They decide what they consume, when the consume it and how they consume it.

With that said, it does seem that Mr. Goodell himself is changing the goalpost here a bit.

“All teams want to get better. And if they see an opportunity to get better as a football team, they’re going to do it,” Goodell said back in May, via Pro Football Talk. “They’re going to do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So those are football decisions.”

At this point, it seems that Kaepernick remaining unemployed is more than a football decision from teams around the NFL. And that’s their prerogative. But let’s not sit back and stick lipstick on a pig and call it Miss America.