Colin Kaepernick Settles with NFL: Will He Ever Play Pro Football Again?
While Colin Kaepernick settled with the NFL recently, his lawyer has spoken out about the player’s prospects at an NFL career. The landmark case is not the last the world is going to hear from Kaepernick, as the NFL quarterback turned activist, is still actively pursuing a job in the league. What everyone is wondering is if an NFL team will take a shot on the 31-year-old player who started the kneeling movement in the NFL.
Kaepernick’s protest and backlash
During the August 2016 preseason, Colin Kaepernick sat for the national anthem in the first three preseason games to protest the shootings of unarmed African-American men by police. He went unnoticed until the third game, when he was in uniform and noticeably sitting for the anthem. In September he began kneeling for the national anthem after speaking with a veteran who advised kneeling in protest was a more respectful option.
On September 1, 2016, Kaepernick was joined by Eric Reid, his teammate, according to SBNation. Through the 2016 season, Kaepernick was joined in protest by dozens of NFL players, NBA players, and even soccer players.
By December 2016 Kaepernick was benched by the 49ers. While coaching staff blamed his gameplay for his ousting, many argue that the quarterback was being punished for his protests. He became a free agent in March 2017 and has not received an offer to play for an NFL team since. He has, however, watched quarterbacks of lesser skill being added to rosters as a backup and even a starting quarterbacks.
Kaepernick accuses the league of collusion
In a landmark case, Colin Kaepernick took on the NFL, accusing the league and owners of collusion to keep him off the football field. According to The New York Times, Kaepernick believes the league worked together to keep him from playing when the protests he instigated brought negative press upon the NFL.
In the end, the protests themselves didn’t bring negative publicity to the league, but rather the handling of said protests. The harsh punishments associated with kneeling for the national anthem kickstarted a debate between NFL fans, political commentators and even the president.
President Trumps Involvement in the Colin Kaepernick case
In court proceedings, Kaepernick’s legal team also argued that President Trump directly influenced the NFL and how they handled the protests. According to Sportsday, Trump spoke with Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys in September 2017 to let him know the players would not win the battle over standing for the national anthem.
Kaepernick’s lawyer contends that Trump’s interference was the direct cause of an NFL policy that required all players on the field to stand for the anthem. If players wished to protest, they were told to stay in the locker room during the anthem. Any player caught kneeling during the anthem would incur a fine as would their team.
Will Colin Kaepernick ever play again?
Now that the NFL has settled the case, many believed Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career would fade into the background. After all, the once star quarterback has developed a healthy career as an activist. His work on Nike’s most recent ad campaign brought record sales to the sneaker corporation. But, Kaepernick wants to play again and wants to be given a chance to prove that his ousting from the NFL was unfair and more about his kneeling than his ability to hack it at the professional football level. After all, he did lead his team to the Super Bowl.
Kaepernick’s lawyer has recently spoken out, letting the press know that his client is still pursuing a career in the NFL. According to Mark Geragos, the Carolina Panthers or the New England Patriots are the most likely teams to take a chance on Kaepernick.
The Patriots are in desperate need of a backup quarterback as aging Tom Brady’s playing window is closing. They famously took a chance on troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon last year. The Panthers, who have a new owner in place, picked up Eric Reid, a co-plaintiff in Kaepernick’s case against the NFL. Both teams seem open to the idea of taking a chance on a player who may pay off big, regardless of their polarizing off-the-field activities.