Report: Politics was not why Kaepernick was spurned by NFL, ‘the ultimate meritocracy’

by WorldTribune Staff, September 1, 2017

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s political crusade has not been a factor in NFL teams’ not signing him, three league executives and one coach told Sports Illustrated.

No “blackballing” had occurred, as far as the three were concerned.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before a pre-season game against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 1, 2016. / AP

The executives and coach, all of whom represent teams needing a quarterback, told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that Kaepernick’s politics were “the last thing on their minds.”

Breer allowed the executives and coach to stay anonymous to get their appraisal:

Executive 1: “It’s not something we discussed, so to talk about reasoning, we’re talking hypotheticals. … Certainly he’s good enough to be a backup. … But we have a good No. 2, a guy that fits our system that we have familiarity with. He’s here for the same reason that [Dolphins coach] Adam Gase goes back to [Jay] Cutler. We know exactly what we’re going to get from the guy. Physically, Kaepernick’s more talented, but familiarity with a backup at that position, knowing exactly what you’re going to get, is more important than the ‘wow’ factor. … It’s like with [Robert Griffin III]; you had him playing a certain way, and he was a hell of a player. But as soon as defenses figured out what they were, and a specific way to play them, that’s where they had to be able to start to win from the pocket. If you can’t do that in this league, it’s tough.”

Executive 2: “From our end, it never got down to [going to the owner]. To me, the protests, all that, it wasn’t even a factor for us. It was the ability to fit within our offense. He doesn’t throw the ball great, he’s more of an on-the-move, zone-read type of quarterback. He needs to be in a specific system. For us, it was a system thing. What he does well is totally outside what most teams do. And so here’s my question: I understand the Kaepernick deal, why it’s news, but nobody’s talking about RG3? I know since it’s Kaepernick, it’s what sells, but the problem that RG3 has getting a job is the same as Kaepernick for a lot of teams.”


Executive 3: “I don’t like the guy as a player. I don’t think he can play. I didn’t think he could play at Reno, I don’t think he can play now. … You don’t think if he was a good player, 20 teams would be lining up? …  He’s inaccurate, inconsistent reading defenses. He needs everything to be perfect around him, and he needs to run a certain offense. When he was rolling, they had an unbelievable defense and a great running game with an amazing offensive line. Everything was perfect. And you consider that, why isn’t there a debate about RG3? He just wasn’t a consideration.”

Coach: “No. 1, he was perfect for San Francisco. They were willing to build around him, which he needs. He’s not a pocket passer. So if you bring him in as a backup, and you’re not Seattle or Carolina, and you don’t have those things built in, it’s like you’re running a different offense with your 1s and your 2s. Mike Shanahan had a great theory on this — he wanted to draft Russell Wilson [in 2012], because if something happened to Robert [Griffin], the transition would be clean and easy. So Kaepernick almost has to be in a place where they’ll build a system for him, and teams don’t do that for backups. That’s why his name never even came up here.”

An AFC executive told Breer that “there’s been a lot of noise,” about Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. “But at the end of the day, we’re part of the ultimate meritocracy. So if someone feels like this guy can help win games, he’ll be in the league.”


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