Colin Kaepernick quickly went from a largely forgotten backup quarterback to the center of national controversy and debate this past season when he decided to kneel during the national anthem. He stated the reason for this was to object to the systemic racism in the United States and various other problems regarding social justice.
The response to the protests were varied and very polarized. On one hand many believed he was disrespecting our military and everything the flag stands for while many others believed he was using a huge platform to bring light to major issues facing our nation today.
Of course, the backlash is something teams have certainly been afraid of.
Regardless of how the majority of people stand, there is undoubtedly a significant portion of the population which takes issue with how the situation was handled. This past season NFL ratings were way down, it can reasonably be assumed that at least part of these struggles can be attributed to “boycotts” of the NFL.
Recently, Bleacher Report talked to some NFL executives to see what teams think about this situation. Although Kaepernick has stated that he does not plan to protest next season, it is still an issue for him on the free agent market. For many the damage has already been done and any team that signs him will face the fact that a major sect of their fan base is likely to take major issue with the signing.
One AFC General Manager told the Bleacher Report that there are three problems teams see with Kaepernick:
“First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number around 20 percent.
Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President] 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.
“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.”
It is obviously too early to know exactly what will happen with this situation. But if teams are hoping to avoid major PR drama, it may be difficult to pick up this divisive and controversial backup quarterback.
What do you think? Should this be an issue for teams when they consider picking up Kaepernick? Let HYPELINE News know what you think in the comments!