Colin Kaepernick is still struggling to find a team as a free agent, because no teams seem interested in picking him up.
An anonymous AFC general manager told reporters there are three reasons no one wants to sign Kaepernick, according to Mercury News. The first is that some believe he can’t play football as well as he once could anymore. The second revolves around concerns over backlash from fans. But the main reason is that most teams “genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did.”
Kaepernick’s career started spiraling downward because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem during games. According to the NFL website, Kaepernick remained seated during the anthem because of law enforcement’s supposed racism — and the country’s racism as a whole.
The former quarterback told reporters, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Yet, many fans of the NFL, its players, and coaches largely disagree with Kaepernick’s actions, and feel they were incredibly disrespectful to our country, which has given him so much. As a result, Kaepernick has found himself out in the cold, and teams are filling their rosters without so much as a look in his direction.
According to an article from The Blaze, many liberals believe Kaepernick’s inability to find a team is proof of the NFL’s racism, despite 70 percent of the league’s players being black.
The AFC general manager also said that NFL teams refusing to sign Kaepernick has less to do with his political views, and more to do with how he chose to express them — and the attitude he’s shown since.
The manager doesn’t believe Kaepernick’s unemployment has to do with his skill, but points to three reasons why he hasn’t been chosen. “He can still play at a high level. The problem is three things are happening with him. First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number at 20 percent,” he said.
The anonymous manager went on to the next reason. “Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.”
Finally, the remaining 60 percent aren’t picking Kaepernick because of his attitude. “Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”
According to The Guardian, nearly a dozen players for the Cleveland Browns knelt together and prayed during the national anthem as a form of protest last weekend, continuing Kaepernick’s legacy of disrespecting the flag.
Despite Kaepernick’s unfavorable status amongst NFL owners, it seems his actions last year have had a lasting impact that continues to plague the NFL, even as we go into the new season. Only time will tell how many fans will leave this year, and how many players will find themselves without teams the following season, thanks to Kaepernick.