Opinion: Why hasn’t Kaepernick been drafted yet?

Ore Obiwumi



In the midst of the seemingly endless tirade of negative infor- mation about football players, from cases of domestic violence to news about the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs, Colin Kaepernick shines as a bea- con of positivity.

Kaepernick is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who re- cently gained widespread admira- tion (and admonition) for choos- ing to kneel during the National Anthem at his football games.

He has consistently shown in- credible social awareness, not just for African Americans, but for Native Americans and women as well.

Kaepernick regularly donates millions of dollars to organiza- tions that help improve the lives of at-risk youth, and young people of color. He also utilizes his so- cial media accounts, particularly his Instagram page, to promote positive messages about people of color and women. He regularly spreads messages about positive African-American role models, and about positive female role models of all races and ethnici- ties, reminding people about im- portant figures during Black His- tory Month and Women’s History Month.

Most importantly, though, Kaepernick became well known due to his decision to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality against Afri- can Americans. This silent pro- test brought a great deal of positive and negative attention, and sparked a debate about whether or not this exercise of Kaeper- nick’s right to free speech is moral.

After all of Kaepernick’s activ- ism and openness, it is difficult not to suspect foul play when, three weeks into the National Football League’s Free Agency Period, he has not yet received a deal. Could this suspicious lack of offers be a result of his open civil rights positions? We cannot yet be sure, but that possibility is dif- ficult to ignore.

According to FiveThirtyEight, which published an article com- paring Kaepernick’s player sta- tistics to that of other players in the NFL, “since 1966, only one under-30 quarterback has had as good a year as Kaepernick, yet gone unsigned the next year.”

While Kaepernick’s overall Quarterback Rating does not rank him among the elite, “It’s hard to find a recent free-agent QB who played at Kaepernick’s level and lasted so long on the market the next offseason.”

It is very odd that Kaepernick has not been picked up yet. It is entirely possible that there are many factors that led to his ex- ceedingly long free agency, but it is difficult to imagine that his sus- picious lack of offers has nothing to do with his political activism.

According to FiveThirtyEight, “If Kaepernick begins the season without a team, history says it’s unlikely to be for football rea- sons.”

There could be a number of rea- sons why Kaepernick has not yet been picked up, such as the fact that his QBR for in-pocket plays has not been stellar over the past few seasons. But if he ends with- out a team by the beginning of the next season, it will most likely be because the NFL found that his exercise of free speech created too much bad press.

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