Posts Tagged ‘Colin Kaepernick’

Unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award on Tuesday night.

Kaepernick is the trailblazer for what have become silent protests during the national anthem at NFL games as a means of drawing attention to social justice issues and inequality.

Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali, said of Kaepernick: “I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people. Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

At age 30, Kaepernick hasn’t played in an NFL game since Week 17 of last season after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right,” Kaepernick said.

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The fact that Colin Kaepernick isn’t in the NFL, despite so many quarterbacks with worse resumes being employed instead, does not add up for Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

James firmly believes that Kaepernick, who holds a career passer rating of 88.9, is easily an NFL-caliber player that is being blackballed for his beliefs.

“I love football, but I’m not part of the NFL,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t represent the NFL. I don’t know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that.

“Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that.”

Since opting out of his contract last March, a total of 42 quarterbacks have been signed while Kaepernick waits, according to a study by Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated. Some of those accomplished luminaries include David Fales, Matt McGloin, and Brandon Weeden.

So why isn’t he in the league? James points out the obvious with Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and the systematic oppression of people of color in America.

“The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because the way he took a knee. That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night,” James said.

“I see all these quarterbacks – first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks – that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest.”

James, another socially conscious athlete who uses his platform to affect change, compared Kaepernick’s activism to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali.

“I’ve commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him. Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn’t see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature,” James said.

“When it’s something that’s new and it’s something that people are not educated about or don’t understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you’re doing is wrong.

“For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he’s done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that.”

Tuesday is a great day in the career of Jed York. In fact, it’s one of the best.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with a group of 11 owners and 13 players Tuesday in search of a “common ground” regarding peaceful protests, a group that included the San Francisco 49ers owner. York called the day “one of the proudest” he’s had as an NFL owner, and credited former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for sparking the discussion for change, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

“(Kaep’s) message has been lost. … (the) more you sit with players and hear what they’re fighting for, it’s hard to disagree with them,” York said following the meeting, according to Rapoport.

“If we don’t care about the causes that make them tick, then what are we about?” York added, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Goodell confirmed during Tuesday’s meeting that the league did not put forth any request for players to stand during the national anthem.

“We did not ask for that. No. We spent today talking about the issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to, about issues in our communities to make our communities better,” Goodell told Sal Paolantonio of ESPN.

Both the NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement Tuesday following a near four-hour meeting, stating that the group “had a productive meeting focused on how we can work together to promote positive change and address inequality in our communities.”

Joe Namath and the hyperbaric chambers

Hall of Fame head coach Mike Ditka questioned the validity of social activism and oppression in America on Monday, and Joe Namath was not going to let it stand.

After the 77-year-old said, “there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” in regards to players protesting during the anthem, Namath called out Ditka’s understanding of those very social issues on Tuesday.

“Look up the meaning of oppression,” Namath told Fox News, according to John Bowden of The Hill. “Look up the definition of oppression, and you understand that it’s obviously taken place.”

While Namath said he believes owners have the right to tell players not to protest at their workplace, he sympathized with Colin Kaepernick‘s protest and the initial reasoning for the quarterback’s kneeling.

“Going back to what Colin Kaepernick initially did, it was to point out some injustice that’s being done to the black race,” Namath said. “Or to people that obviously when you look – and I say obviously, some of these dash cams and shootings that were done to unarmed people. He was reaching out to try to get it more investigated. So that’s where this oppression thing comes in.”

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After a nightmare start to the season, some in the Cincinnati Bengals locker room are expecting Andy Dalton‘s head to be the next one to roll in Cincy.

Despite having the support of the front office, some of Dalton’s teammates, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, feel the signal-caller is already on a short leash.

If Dalton was indeed benched or cut, Florio reports that some Bengals players would favor an “off the board” fill-in like unsigned QB Colin Kaepernick.

While there has been zero indication from the team regarding an interest in Kaepernick’s services, back-to-back miserable offensive performances and nine total points scored over two weeks may have Bengals management considering new options under center.

Dalton has completed only 54.5 percent of his passes for 394 yards, four picks, and no touchdowns.

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Hank Aaron, the Atlanta Braves icon who endured vicious racism during his Hall of Fame career, is among those who think embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick deserves a job in the NFL.

“I think he’s getting a raw deal,” Aaron said Wednesday in an interview with A TV One. “If you look at all the quarterbacks in the league right now, I think you have to say he is one, two, three, four. I don’t think anybody can do the things he could do. I just wish somebody would open up and give him a chance to do his thing.”

With just over two weeks left until the start of the NFL regular season, Kaepernick – whose on-field national anthem protests from a year ago sparked political tumult within the game – remains unemployed, leading many to speculate that the league’s owners are blackballing him. Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012, put up solid numbers last season, after all, and still has the talent to be a starting quarterback, according to Aaron.

“The thing that bothers me about this whole situation is the fact that he is going to all these camps and nobody seems to think he stands a chance of being No. 1. This is a young player who almost carried a team to a championship, to a Super Bowl – but I was a Ravens fan.”

Last year, in his sixth season with the 49ers, Kaepernick posted his highest quarterback rating (90.7) since 2013, throwing for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns in 12 games while completing 59.2 percent of his pass attempts. In March, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with San Francisco.

Though he remains out of work, Kaepernick’s protest movement – with black people and people of color being oppressed, he said, he refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem – has gained traction around the NFL of late. Last week, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat for the national anthem ahead of a preseason game in protest of racial inequality and police brutality, and a group of Cleveland Browns players kneeled in protest during the Star-Spangled Banner on Monday night.

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Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick used to battle for the San Francisco 49ers‘ starting quarterback job. Five years later, Smith is quarterbacking the Kansas City Chiefs, and he wonders why Kaepernick is unemployed.

“Crazy to think he’s not playing,” Smith said to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. “Yeah, that’s a crazy thing. As good as he was playing. Young, strong, I felt like he had a long career ahead of him. Crazy that at this point he’s out of a job. …

“A lot’s changed in those few years obviously since I’ve been gone and came here. Everything that’s gone on since, it’s not something I saw coming, knowing Kap.”

Smith and Kaepernick both started for the 49ers in 2012, but the year ended with Smith on the shelf with a concussion and Kaepernick leading the team to the Super Bowl. Smith was shipped off to the Chiefs a month later.

At the time, Kaepernick was thought to be the new breed of quarterback. Five years on, however, he’s a 29-year-old without a job.

“It’s hard for me to comment on it,” Smith said. “I don’t know. Lot going on in that landscape right now. Certainly when I was there, he was playing at a really, really high level, right? Had a lot in front of him as far as a career goes. He was playing really good football.”