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The Colin Kaepernick circus may be coming to a gridiron near you.
This week, his attorney, Mark Geragos, told TMZ that there is interest from the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders to sign the controversial quarterback. This is probably a clever publicity stunt by Geragos to bring attention to his client, but let’s play along.
My message to the Pats: just do it. Just like Nike did. This is a football decision; not a political or respect issue. Do I think that Kaepernick disrespected the Flag by staging a protest and kneeling during the National Anthem? Yes, I do. I wrote a blog explaining why I felt that it is disrespectful to those of us who fought for it, and for those who were killed in action. Was I upset when Nike chose him to be the face of its newest ad campaign? No, I wasn’t. I’d be upset if the ad featured Kaepernick burning an American Flag. When Kaepernick’s protest began many of us just wished that he found a different time to protest. “Find a different 3 minutes” we asked; and that’s what he did with Nike. The commercial focuses on athletes chasing dreams and features unknown athletes and professionals such as LeBron James and Serena Williams. It also features adaptive athletes who have overcome physical limitations to reach their goals. Athletes such as Shaquem Griffin who was drafted this year to the Seattle Seahawks and became a starting linebacker despite having his left hand amputated as a child due to a prenatal condition. It is a message that I feel is beneficial to Veterans who struggle from the physical wounds that they suffered in war.
Kaepernick would bring a great deal of controversy to the Patriots, but this isn’t something that has scared them before. I imagine that Bill Belichick values Kaepernick’s political opinions as much as he values Rob Gronkowski’s; not at all. Under Belichick the Patriots have taken risks on players with off field issues if they felt it was for the good of the team. They did it with Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Albert Haynesworth, Aaron Hernandez, Tim Tebow, Michael Floyd, Kenny Britt, and many others. Some, like Dillon and Moss helped the team and the others who didn’t were cut. Just this week the Patriots traded a 5th round draft pick to take a chance on Josh Gordon who has admitted to using and selling drugs since he was in middle school. Since 2013 Gordon has only appeared in 11 NFL games because he has either been suspended by the league, suspended by the team, or in rehab. For the past twenty years the Patriots have been one of the best teams at ignoring distractions and focusing on success on the field. They have five Super Bowl rings to prove it.
If Kaepernick can adjust from the west coast offense system that he flourished with as the starter of the San Francisco 49ers to Belichick’s offensive game plan, he could be a viable backup. Tom Brady, the greatest football player of all time, is 41 years old and entering his seventeenth season as the QB of the Super Bowl favorites. Despite his wishes of playing until 45 he's just one gruesome play away from an early retirement. His current backup, journeyman Brian Hoyer, is a serviceable spot starter but only has a career record of 16-21 as a starter, and in his last playoff start he lost 30-0 after throwing 4 interceptions, 0 touchdowns, and possessing a QB rating of just 15.9. There is no way he is capable of leading a team to a championship like Nick Foles did last year for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Jeff Hostetler did in 1991 for the New York Giants. Kaepernick, on the other hand, nearly won Super Bowl XLVII with the 49ers.
A Kaepernick signing probably wouldn’t hurt the bottom line for owner Robert Kraft. Since the Kaepernick ad Nike’s stock has risen by 33% to all-time highs. Like many, I don’t watch football to get my political and patriotic views shaped by out of touch millionaires. I just want to watch 300-pound men run into each other and see the game played at the highest level. I want to see Bill Belichick out coach other teams and witness Brady carving up the league’s defenses. I want to debate if the New England Patriots will get redemption for their Super Bowl LII loss and raise the Vince Lombardi trophy next February in Atlanta, Georgia. I could care less about the beliefs of the players and owners. If I did the NFL would have lost me a time ago because of the off-field actions of many people employed by the league. As much as Kaepernick disrespected the Anthem, many others associated with the NFL have done much worse by disrespecting women, animals, children, gun laws, drug laws, drunk driving laws, and a plethora of other crimes against society.
So, let’s go Patriots: Just Do It.