Over the past few weeks, the kneeling of National Football League (NFL) players during the national anthem has become somewhat of an epidemic. In response to President Donald Trump’s series of tweets concerning the importance of national pride, NFL teams conducted mass demonstrations; a combination of protesting and displaying unity. On the other side, a fair amount of Americans called for the radical movement of completely boycotting the NFL due to the lack of respect being paid to our country.
However, everyone seems to have completely forgotten what occurred about one year ago. Colin Kaepernick, ex-quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee for the national anthem various times during the 2016 season, alongside his teammate Eric Reid.
At the time of Kaepernick’s protests, some individuals boycotted the NFL, while others defended his willingness to make a stand. Eventually, Kaepernick lost the starting job to Blaine Gabbert, and his tenure with the 49ers came to a crashing halt.
Kaepernick, in all truthfulness, deserves a second chance in the NFL in light of the 2017 protests.
In the recent protests, the retribution casted upon the participating players was much less costly than Kaepernick’s fate: if anything, the 2017 display of unity resulted in players willing to work together to reach a common goal. During Week 3 of this year’s campaign, every team showed some form of protest ignited by unity; whether it be taking a knee, locking arms, or remaining in the locker room for the playing of the national anthem.
Kaepernick’s track record suggests that he has the potential to be a starting quarterback in today’s NFL. He was a player who had taken the 49ers to the 2013 Super Bowl and nearly won the game if it had not been for Joe Flacco and the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens.
With the NFL’s recent demonstrations, Kaepernick’s window of opportunity to secure a roster spot should be wide open.
His past protests are clearly the only thing holding him out of the league at this point.
This summer during the NFL offseason, it was a popular belief that Kaepernick was denied a job because of the reputation that he carried with him and his past demonstrations. The Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins, for example, were seriously considering signing Kaepernick due to unforeseen circumstances with their starting quarterbacks. Instead, the Ravens opted to stay with Joe Flacco and Ryan Mallett, and Miami chose Jay Cutler, an aging quarterback that was on the verge of retirement.
So now that these demonstrations have occurred (and are still occurring), it is Kaepernick’s time to step in and make a contribution on an NFL team. There is no question in my mind whatsoever that based on talent level alone, no NFL general manager would pass up on an explosive and dynamic quarterback like Kaepernick.
Last year, Kaepernick was a man on a mission, trying to raise awareness for a cause that he was truly passionate about. Only, he was virtually alone in his efforts. Now that he has an entire league that would be willing to back him up, it’s time to give him a well-deserved second chance in the NFL.