The official student news site of The Benjamin Middle School in North Palm Beach, FL

The Neersyde

  • October 15Week 2 Schedule This Week

  • October 15Fifth-Grade Preview Thursday Evening

  • October 15Student-Led Conferences Next Wed.

Filed under News, Opinion, Sports

The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

Colin+Kaepernick+%28right%29+and+Eric+Reid+kneel+during+the+national+anthem+prior+to+a+game+in+Santa+Clara%2C+California+on+September+12%2C+2016.
Colin Kaepernick (right) and Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem prior to a game in Santa Clara, California on September 12, 2016.

Colin Kaepernick (right) and Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem prior to a game in Santa Clara, California on September 12, 2016.

Photo courtesy of www.cnn.com

Photo courtesy of www.cnn.com

Colin Kaepernick (right) and Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem prior to a game in Santa Clara, California on September 12, 2016.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Five years ago, Colin Kaepernick was one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League (NFL). In 2013, He lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl and lost by just 3 points. In 2014 he threw for 3,369 yards, threw 21 touchdowns and rushed for 639 yards. In 2016, he had a  mediocre season, throwing for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and rushing for 468 yards in 12 games. This year, at the age of 29, he is unemployed. Without Kaepernick, the 49ers offense is struggling, scoring just five total touchdowns in the team’s first three games (all losses) this season. In addition, according to www.profootballtalk.com, a microsite of NBC Sports, touchdowns were down across the league through the first two weeks. Teams averaged 2.1 TDs per game through Week 2, down from 2.6 at the same time last year. How does a successful, elite quarterback go from franchise quarterback to being unemployed in a single year, especially when offenses across the league are struggling?

Let’s be honest, it’s most likely because Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem for every game he played last year, including the preseason.  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick, who is biracial, last August. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” he said, referring to recent episodes of civil unrest and police violence against blacks. He also said he will continue to protest the national anthem until “[the American flag] represents what it’s supposed to represent.”

Other players who decided to kneel  in consolidation with Kaepernick last year were players from several other teams in the NFL:  Michael Thomas (New Orlean Saints), Kenny Stills ( Miami Dolphins), Brandon Marshall (New York Giants), Devin McCourty (New England Patriots), and Martellus Bennett (Green Bay Packers).  None of these players received nearly as much negative media attention as Kaepernick, and Kenny Stills, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett were all free agents this year and were signed by teams this offseason.

However, some TBS students feel Kaepernick is unemployed because he simply isn’t a good quarterback anymore. “Kaepernick got much more hate because he is not as good of a player as most of the other players who kneeled,” said eighth grader Tre Williams. “Players who kneeled like Kenny Stills had the most touchdowns on the Dolphins and Devin McCourty made it to the Pro Bowl. If it was Jared Goff who kneeled, he would get a lot of hate because he had a terrible season and is just attracting more drama to the already terrible L.A Rams.  He is unemployed because he is not a great player.”

Fellow eighth grader Matt Rountree agreed: “He is not a great QB anymore. Ever since Harbaugh left, he has not been the dual-threat QB he once was.”  

Getty Images
It’s no secret that Kaepernick’s play began to decline after Head Coach Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers,

It’s true that Kaepernick and the 49ers thrived under the leadership of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, who drafted him in his first year as head coach of the ’Niners. Harbaugh, a former college and NFL quarterback himself, coached San Francisco from 2011-14. During that time, Kaepernick went 29-16 as a starter, leading the 49ers to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2002. In addition, he nearly led the ’Niners to a win in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, but lost 31-34 to the Baltimore Ravens.

However, after Harbaugh left in 2014 to coach his alma mater, the University of Michigan, much of the San Francisco coaching staff left for other teams or were fired, and Kaepernick’s play began to decline sharply. Kaepernick only started as QB under Harbaugh in 2013 and 2014, which were his best years. In those two years as a starter, he threw for 6,566 yards, 40 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,160 yards. He also led San Francisco to its first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years. After Harbaugh’s departure, Kaepernick’s 2015 and 2016 combined stats were much more pedestrian: 3,856 yards, 22 touchdowns passes, and 724 yards rushing.

According to an article by Doug Williams on www.nbcbayarea.com, “In the two seasons since [Harbaugh] was let go, the 49ers are 7-25. In the four seasons Harbaugh was on the job in San Francisco, the 49ers were 44-19, went to three straight NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl and never had a losing season.”

So it seems quite possible that without Harbaugh as a mentor and his offensive system in place, Kaepernick struggled. In addition, star running back Frank Gore left for the Indianapolis Colts, five-time first team All Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis retired, and their sure-handed tight end, Vernon Davis, left for the Washington Redskins.

With this in mind, some students believe it was Kaepernick’s silent protests that resulted in his unemployment this year. “No teams want to have to handle that drama, that is why he is unemployed, and one of the most hated players in the league,” said eighth grader Dylan Bernstein. Bernstein disagrees with Kaepernick’s protests and thinks the league should have taken action against him.“When he kneeled, it was very disrespectful and he should have been suspended,” he said.  

Bernstein’s comments are in line with President Trump who, earlier this week, during a rally for Alabama Republican Senate

Photo courtesy of www.marketwatch.com
President Trump has been harshly critical of NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem.

candidate Luther Strange, urged NFL owners to fire players who knelt during the national anthem. “Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, he’s fired,” said Trump. “He’s fired!” Trump sees protesting during the anthem to be “a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for,” he said.

The irony is, many of the NFL owners, such as Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, rebuked the president’s comments and defended their players’ right to kneel. However, none of the NFL’s 32 owners have offered Kaepernick, who is the one who began all of this protesting, a job.

Some QB’s that were signed this offseason instead of Kaepernick were Landry Jones of the Steelers, Geno Smith of the Giants, and Blaine Gabbert of the Cardinals – none of which have the resume that Kaepernick does.  For example, the three of those players combined have appeared in 64 NFL games over their career, as opposed to Kaepernick’s 69 games. Shouldn’t the more proven, more experienced player get the job?

Photo courtesy of www.mercurynews.com
Many players for the Oakland Raiders sit during their Sunday night tilt against the Washington Redskins on September 24, 2017.

Even the normally vanilla Tom Brady, who often shies away from discussing anything political or controversial, feels Kaeprenick deserves to be employment. “He came to our stadium and beat us and took his team to the Super Bowl,” Brady said. “He accomplished a lot in the pros as a player. And he’s certainly qualified and I hope he gets a shot.”

It seems obvious that the 32 NFL teams have collectively and successfully blackballed Kaepernick for kneeling, preventing him from landing a job this year – even as a backup.  Is this legal? No, but collusion is difficult to prove.

No matter what, Kaepernick has proven to have been a very good if not great QB for most of his career. It’s unlikely he’s just not good anymore at the age of 29 (Tom Brady was just named AFC Offensive Player of the Week at the age of 40).  It’s unusual that no team has signed him with his level of experience, ability, and leadership.

Usually, when quarterbacks take a knee, it’s to run out the clock, signalling they have won the game. For Kaepernick, taking a knee hasn’t won him anything so far – not even a backup role. It’s just begun an ugly debate that has brought politics and unrest into America’s most popular game.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    Showcase

    Announcements – Friday, October 20, 2017

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    Showcase

    The Neersyde 2017-18 NBA Preview

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    Showcase

    Announcements – Friday, October 20, 2017

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    Showcase

    The Neersyde 2017-18 NBA Preview

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    News

    Time to Rethink the Fall Dance?

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    News

    Mr. Carr Featured Speaker at Honor Code Assembly

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    Sports

    New Student Powers Bucs’ Football Team

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    A&E

    NBA 2K18 Review

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    News

    The Reasoning Behind Assigned Seating at Lunch

  • The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)

    News

    How do the New Suite of iPhones Measure Up?

The official student news site of The Benjamin Middle School in North Palm Beach, FL
The Complicated Case of Colin Kaepernick (and the NFL’s Anthem Issue)