Over the last few years, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained steam in America, and made national headlines for protests in every major city. Opinions about the group vary, many liberals describing the group as an activist group fighting for rights, while many conservatives has described the group as rioters and even terrorists (I’m going to relate this to sports I promise). Whatever your opinion on the group, it has divided America in every facet of life, from music and Hollywood, and even football. Football fans, especially pro football fans, come from all over the political spectrum. Fans of teams out West like the 49ers and Seahawks tend to be much more liberal than fans of the Cowboys and Titans, in the conservative South. The issue has divided football fans, and no one player has furthered this discussion more than current free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick started a media firestorm back in August when he refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality, causing many fans around the league to express outrage, or in many cases admiration. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, I do not think any other figure closely resembles Kaepernick than another polarizing free-agent QB, Tim Tebow. The comparison most likely seems odd to many, considering the two are most likely on the opposite end of the political spectrum, and the groups that support one do not like the other. But Tebow was the last player to receive so much scrutiny over his personal beliefs, much more so than Kaepernick. Both players have proven they can play in the NFL, although Kaepernick has proven to be much better than Tebow. But both are two controversial, hence why neither man has a job in the league right now. Tebow most likely does not have the skill to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he could certainly be a backup. Kaepernick is a borderline starter who had a rebound season in 2016, but is still out of work. Why is it that these two talented guys, who could at very least be serviceable backups, out of a job? Because NFL teams do not like controversy, unless you are a can’t miss talent.
The narrative that NFL teams are scared of backlash to signing Kapernick needs to stop. Guys like Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress, and Brandon Marshall all received second chances, after they had been arrested. The simple reason Kaepernick is out of a job is because of ability. He is a borderline starter, but most likely a backup, and like Tebow, that won’t cut it. Teams don’t want their backups being talked about on First Take every morning. Tebow causes controversy because of his highly publicized Christian beliefs, Kapernick because of his political beliefs. They’re not out of a job because of character issues, but because teams do not want to have their backup in the headlines every day. Colin Kaepernick has become the new Tim Tebow with beliefs that are complete opposite, but with a skill set that is similar. Who knows, maybe we will see Kaepernick trying out for the Mets soon.