MMQB recently put together an article about the National Anthem protests, speaking with players and fans about the recent up-tick in the protest. On Thursday, Albert Breer wrapped it up with a discussion with three executives and one coach about Colin Kaepernick, and why he is not in the league. Breer sells out “I’m just laying the facts,” but it’s more of the same we’ve seen from him all offseason. Opinions aren’t facts, but Breer doesn’t appear to recognize that.
It’s not surprising that none of them thinks the protest has anything to do with it. They pointed specifically to play. They talked about him not fitting their system, with all four mentioning Robert Griffin III. I would contend the difference between Kaepernick and RG3 is that the latter suffered a knee injury his first year, and was never really the same after that. Kaepernick had big seasons started his career strong, saw things bottom out in 2015, but then returned in 2016 to show something of what he once was. He was inconsistent in 2016, but he actually showed improvement in some critical areas of his game. He is certainly not one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but film study shows a quarterback that is more than what some of his critics think.
It is interesting to note that fans and players have generally put their names to the comments, both for and against. We’ve seen supportive comments from Aaron Rodgers and several of Kaepernick’s 49ers teammates. We’ve seen critical comments from Drew Brees, some of Kaepernick’s 49ers teammates, and other players. It seems like executives are more likely to not attach their name to critical comments.
The closest we’ve come to a team willing to admit the protests impact their decision was when the Baltimore Ravens acknowledged talking to fans and sponsors about the impact of signing Kaepernick after Joe Flacco got hurt. Nothing came of it, and we’re back where we started, with Kaepernick on the sideline and unlikely to sign anywhere anytime soon.