Colin Kaepernick: Back In The Spotlight

Sep 1, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) smiles as he looks into the stands after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

As surely as water is wet, this past weekend saw Colin Kaepernick return to the media spotlight, once again breathing life into the ‘anthem-kneeling’ debate he kickstarted back in August of 2016, some two and a half years ago.

The reason for his return to the limelight this time? Breaking news of the settlements that he and Eric Reid reached a settlement with the NFL, laying to rest an almost three-year effort by Kaepernick to prove collusion worked to keep him out of the league.

But, what actually happened?

I mean, after it all, we as fans still don’t really know shit about the intricacies of the case that followed Kaepernick’s collusion grievance in 2017, with recent settlements only adding fuel to that fire.

What do I mean by that? Well, just take a gander at the screenshot below.

kaep confidentiality
Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid Settle Collusion Grievance With the NFL: What’s the Significance?

Ahhh yes… Confidentiality agreements and saving face. What’s more NFL than that?

Isn’t that just great? I should have known that nothing constructive would come from a scenario in which the NFL is involved. Instead, we’re left with another missed opportunity for transparency, as well as another PR cop out.

These settlements were the perfect solution for erasing the need to answer any questions about this National Anthem issue and how it related to NFL collusion at Kaepernick’s expense at all.

What utter bullshit.

Tell Me GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY



Tell Me Loki GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I so badly wish to know what went on in those meetings behind closed doors. Kaepernick and Reid clearly had something up their sleeves, and by that, I don’t mean magic. Kaepernick clearly had something good.

Because as it pertains to Colin’s original accusation of collusion, all we really know is that Colin Kaepernick ventured into the social activism realm at a time where his NFL career coincidentally fell off. Who is to say if those two things are related or not.

Some people say kneeling inevitably played into NFL teams not signing Kaepernick overall, whereas others will tell you it was simply because Kaepernick’s play was in decline already and that he definitely wasn’t worth the PR headache on top of it.

And it’s probably a bit of both, to be honest.

It’s kind of a no-brainer to me that numerous closely-connected organizations may not want to hire somebody who A) makes you, not even look bad, but looked AT with more scrutiny period, B) isn’t focused on his job, C) is very focused on other things outside of his job, or D) simply isn’t one of the best market options out there.

With those points in mind, alongside any experience in a traditional employment setting, I feel that most levelheaded people would realize that this whole Kaepernick debacle is about more than race. Then again though, conservative media simply could not shut up about this topic.

Sure. Show me all of the statistics you want on Kap, or talk to me about social justice until the cows come home. I get it. There’s a lot of social justice in me. Here’s my thing though. I know those aspirations will take opportunities away from me. Considering this and the super politically-charged activism Kaepernick got involved with, I can’t help but see many reasons why he hasn’t been picked up that shouldn’t be reduced down to racist collusion.

I suppose that’s the thing though. Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL for collusion, not for being racist. Somewhere in that word soup and legal jargon, this meaning matters. It matters because all Kaepernick needed in order to prove NFL wrongdoing against him was present evidence that two or more teams conspired against signing him in wake of him kneeling during the anthem.

I’ll just end this article with some final thoughts:

I guess what you think of this issue largely depends on you and where you’ve come from in life.

At first, it pissed me off. How rude and inefficient that the person championing an equality movement was protesting our anthem while wearing pig-Cop socks. But then I realized that this was just another version of widespread frustration harbored by the American people towards our political and American system reincarnate.

I never liked what Kap did until I realized how badass it was to stand up for something like that. To be fair, activism is far bigger than sports will ever be, and that’s likely Colin’s cross to bear.

In that same line of thinking though, my reasons for originally disliking Colin and his movement weren’t even political. It was the fact that a waning talent seemingly hijacked a cause in order to power thrust his way back into the national sports conversation, profiting massively from the publicity despite his play being generally mediocre at best.

Even so, who am I to judge? As time moves on in the way our political climate has been since 2016, I’ve pondered many-a-time whether or not I wouldn’t do the very same – hijack some kind of spotlight to piss people off and further a political cause. In fact, I know I would do that, so this whole ordeal with Colin has been an intriguing case study to take notes from, be them for better or for worse.

And despite all of the ways Colin handled his protest that I didn’t like, I can’t help but respect a person willing to put their reputation at stake for a greater good. Sure, his programming is a bit rough around the edges at times, but that’s the nature of the beast in the media world anyway.

I’ll round this out with my last grievance: For an activist, signing a confidentiality agreement is a loss. I simply can’t kick that feeling.

However, early reports estimate that Colin will likely bag somewhere between $60-80 million off of this settlement, so what the fuck do I know about winning and losing. It all seems arbitrary when people are faced with money amounts of that proportion. Who cares about what you stand for when you’re rich, I suppose.

I guess activism pays. Maybe Conservatives should take note.