The two real reasons Colin Kaepernick can’t find work

The two real reasons Colin Kaepernick can’t find work

The main point of a Sunday post by NewsBusters’s Brad Wilmouth was to highlight a claim made by a guest on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” that there are Nazis in the White House. But the guest in question, Demoratic pollster Fernand Amandi, had a second axe to grind: the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick.

I am going to focus on the second bullet point because the first is already receiving wall-to-wall coverage on the Internet this morning. Examples, some by enlightened sources, can be found here and here.

After declaring that “America owes Colin Kaepernick an apology this morning, and the NFL owes him a job,” Amandi went off on a favorite tangent:

But you know what’s not a private business, Joy? The federal government. And if Colin Kaepernick can be out of a job for exercising a peaceful [sic] First Amendment right, why are the three Nazis in the White House — Bannon, Gorka and Miller — whose jobs are funded by we , the taxpayers — why are they still working today?

Amandi seems unaware that the rules for seeking — and failing to find — gainful employment in the private sector work differently from those in the public sector.

Which brings me to the reasons why no one will hire Colin Kaepernick. The primary reason is that his “peaceful exercise of his First Amendment right” (which is what I think Amandi was trying to say) is a turnoff to fans, who follow football for the sport, not for the political views of its players. As an illustration, last month Baltimore Ravens fans rose up in protest when rumors of a potential signing of Kaepernick went public.

Team owners are also less than enthusiastic about hiring a player whose incendiary rhetoric has included comparing the police to slave patrols. In May, The Bleacher Report’s Mark Freeman wrote:

The reason Kaepernick still hasn’t been signed, I’ve been told by dozens of team officials this week, is because of the political stance he took in not standing for the flag last season to protest racial inequality.

The secondary reason teams aren’t hiring Kaepernick is one that dates back to the beginning of organized sports: his performance on the field of play. As ESPN’s Kevin Seifert noted in May:

Don’t overthink why Colin Kaepernick is still a free agent. Simply put, years have passed since he was an effective quarterback. He is 29 years old, has succeeded only in an unsustainable scheme and is part of a well-populated group of former starters who also remained available as the week began.

Filmmaker Spike Lee has raised the issue of whether social and cultural forces are at work here, calling it “fishy” that Kaepernick is unsigned. The implication, of course, is that teams are avoiding Kaepernick because of his decision to kneel last year during the national anthem.

To blame Kaepernick’s unemployment on his protest is to misread the way NFL teams make personnel decisions.

The sad truth is that Colin Kaepernick is no more effective a crusader than he is a football player. Back in May, sources close to him put out word that he had decided that he would stand during the national anthem this coming season. According to the sources, Kaepernick felt he had achieved his goal and didn’t want “his method of protest to detract” from that.

Frankly, that sounds like a lame excuse from a guy trying to resuscitate a career he had put on life support by staging childish antics. If I’m reading him right, that makes him a hypocrite on top of everything else.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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