A lot has been said and written in recent weeks about Colin Kaepernick and his free agency status. We’ve the full spectrum of “this has nothing do with his protest” to “this has everything to do with his protest.” It is not surprising that 75 percent of respondents in our recent poll believe it falls somewhere in between.
We have heard from Jim Harbaugh here and there, but on Thursday, SI writer Mike Rosenberg put together a great piece in which he spoke with Harbaugh and Chip Kelly about Kaepernick’s status right now. They are the two most relevant coaches to this discussion. Harbaugh was Kaepernick’s head coach at the height of his game, and Kelly was head coach amidst the National Anthem protest.
Rather than break down segments of it, I simply think it is a fantastic read. It gets into Kaepernick’s aversion to publicity, the nuances of wanting to compete for a starting job in a league with limited starting opportunities available, some anecdotes related to Kaepernick’s personality, and what Kaepernick might want moving forward.
I say might want because Kaepernick did not speak with Rosenberg for the article. Kaepernick has generally avoided interviews to discuss the situation, and that of course that is part of the issue for some folks. He has generally let his actions speak for themselves, but that opens the door for numerous assumptions and inferences based on people’s own beliefs.
Harbaugh had the most to say in the article, and had some fascinating insight into some big issues going on in the world. He also addressed why Kaepernick gets the reaction other protesting players did not. Harbaugh initially came out against the protest, but has since acknowledged he better understands Kaepernick after taking time to understand the message Kaepernick was attempting to convey. He told Rosenberg that Kaepernick is singled out, “because he was first ... He is going to be the one that people hold a grudge against.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Kaepernick will be on a roster when Week 1 or even training camp rolls around. Rosenberg thinks Kaepernick is 100 percent committed to playing in the NFL this year, but if an NFL team tells him he has to put aside his social justice work, he will walk away from the game. Again, this is all based on what Rosenberg infers, not what Kaepernick has said.
Whatever ends up happening, this article is a great read.