- secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose
By now, everybody is familiar with the ongoing battle between the NFL and Colin Kaepernick.
Ever since opting out of his deal back in March 2017, Kaepernick has yet to find employment in a league that, despite what you hear or read, has little interest in seeing him play another down.
Owners are colluding against him. He’s more than talented enough to play in the NFL. Arguing against that is akin to questioning whether water is wet.
NFL general managers will tell you they are in the business of winning. All the other s— is window dressing. If a player helps the team win, the team will manage the other stuff — Adrian Peterson, Ezekiel Elliot, Ben Roethlisberger, hell Brett Favre introduced the NFL and specifically Jenn Sterger to d— pics back in 2008, yet he didn’t seem to have any issues finding work in the years to follow.
Ray Lewis is another one. Both he and Favre are in the Hall of Fame, and all the other players mentioned above will likely find their way to Canton when all is said and done.
Operating under the assumption that winning is the primary objective of any team, is it not puzzling to see the likes of Brandon Weeden, Scott Tolzien, Matt Cassel, Mike Glennon, Jay Cutler, and even JOE WEBB taking snaps while Colin Kaepernick continues to be punished for his valid and warranted criticisms of social injustice and inequality in America?
Kaepernick recently filed a grievance against the NFL, citing collusion amongst the owners as the primary reason he has yet to be signed.
The quarterback position is far and away the most critical position on a football team, especially in today’s pass-heavy NFL — don’t remind me of the 2001 Super Bowl. Collins vs. Dilfer. We all lost that day.
Examining the state of the quarterback position in the NFL (see above list once again), I can only settle on two possible scenarios to explain Kaepernick’s ongoing search for employment:
- Winning and competing for a title is not the primary objective after all, OR
- Owners are in fact colluding, instructing their respective general managers to seek the services of individuals that, while being far less talented than Kaepernick, don’t bring with them the baggage and “circus” that come with him.
A team serious about winning simply does not choose Brandon Weeden (or any other member of the above list) when Colin Kaepernick is available — If running backs were still as sexy today as they were in the 80s and 90s, you’d probably have a team or two considering taking a flyer on OJ before entertaining employing Colin Kaepernick — that is how toxic Colin Kaepernick’s presence is perceived to be amongst NFL executives.
Despite the common sense argument to be made, Colin Kaepernick will not win this latest battle with his former employer. From a legal standpoint, proving collusion, in this case, is a feat approaching impossible.
Roger Goodell, and his merry band of owners continue to sing their “support” for Kaepernick’s cause but, in reality, have shown absolutely zero backbone in practicing what they preach by refusing to give him an opportunity he so clearly deserves.
When asked if he felt Kaepernick deserved to be in the NFL, Goodell ducked the question by responding “I don’t make those decisions. I’m not a football expert”.
Neither am I, and that’s the exact f—ing problem here. You don’t need to be a football expert to understand the forces at work here or answer that question — THE ANSWER IS YES!
It’s a sad but harsh reality that the billion-dollar NFL equation cannot withstand the insertion of the Kaepernick variable, especially not in an America currently under Trump Law where everything is politicized.
Sponsors and a portion of the NFL fanbase will not stand for such an act, even if it would translate into more wins for their team and a more entertaining product on the field — Kaepernick, if nothing else, is entertaining to watch. Compared to Scott Tolzien? Do I really need to sell you on that!?
Despite another legal loss on the horizon and the countless quarterback signings around the league, Colin Kaepernick continues to wage war on NFL culture, and the overall culture in America. Even in defeat, his message continues to make waves and force the hand of the No Fun League — many teams recently tried to institute policies that would make standing for the anthem mandatory and violators subject to disciplinary action.
That’s right, peaceful protests will no longer be permitted. Domestic violence, rape, child abuse — all fine so long as your contributions to winning are deemed substantial enough to constitute the managing of additional matters.
Colin Kaepernick knowingly sacrificed a career worth hundreds of millions of dollars for a cause he believed in.
That is truly admirable and we should all understand his fight goes beyond his pursuit of NFL employment. His message makes people feel uncomfortable — just watch Jerry Jones kneel before the anthem. Discomfort personified.
Discomfort amongst the powerful is often the prelude to radical change.
It may not seem as such, but progress is being made, even if Colin Kaepernick remains off the field. Just remember that the war doesn’t end if and when he gets another shot at football. All we need is an owner to have enough courage to swim against the current and do what we all know to be the right thing.
Sound like I’m asking them to be more like Colin Kaepernick?
Photo credit: USA Today Sports / Joe Nicholson