Kaepernick v United States

by Daniel Masek

Colin Kaepernick, former NFL quarterback, filed a grievance against the NFL Owners for illegal collusion and coordination, according to ESPN.com. Kaepernick started a movement during the 2015 football season where he sat for the National Anthem, and two weeks later, altered his protest to a kneel.The demonstrations were originally started to protest police brutality in America, and he’s faced immeasurable harassment and persecution from fans and teammates.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the 2016 season, making him an unrestricted free agent, eligible to sign with any team. Today, he is still without a job. The argument for Kaepernick not having a job is that he’s not good enough or

Kaepernick and Safety Eric Reid Kneeling before a game in 2016. From New York Times

that his play has dropped off. While he may no longer be Super Bowl Colin Kaepernick anymore, he’s certainly better than, say, Jay Cutler or Joe Flacco.

Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt (ANY/A) is a stat that essentially measures how many yards a team can expect to get from the quarterback on pass plays. Cutler and Flacco ended last season with 4.01 and 3.26 ANY/A respectively. Colin Kaepernick ended the season with 5.92, according to pro-football-reference.com.

Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks All-Pro Cornerback, said in a press conference in August, “But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now – whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible – have jobs. You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.”

Kaepernick ended the season with a higher ANY/A than 15 starting quarterbacks, including Cutler and Flacco. His score is supposed to be lower than most quarterbacks because he is a mobile quarterback, meaning he has the option to run the ball himself, negatively impacting his ANY/A, because that stat only represents performance on pass plays.

Eric Reid is a safety for the San Francisco 49ers, and was the only other player to originally kneel for the Anthem alongside his teammate, Colin Kaepernick. Since 2015, over 200 players have knelt for the Anthem through the first five games, including Jerry Jones, the Cowboys owner. All of these players have jobs and endorsements, and aren’t in fear of their jobs for kneeling, according to The Chicago Tribune.  

Some will make the argument that Kaepernick brings too much “baggage” to the team because of his political demonstrations and opinions. “Baggage” doesn’t seem to be a problem in the NFL when it involves murder, sexual assault, drugs or assault. Greg Hardy, Ezekiel Elliott, Ray Lewis, Adam Jones, Aldon Smith are some names of players who may bring a little more “baggage” than an opinion; these men were accused of sexual assault and battery, sexual assault and battery, murder, and assault/drug posession, respectively. According to nflarrest.com, there were over 25 incidents in the last year involving current NFL players, with 18 of them in the league today.

Kaepernick is the leader of the movement to bring awareness to police brutality in America in the NFL, and demonstrated his right to freedom of expression, held, and stood behind his opinion, and is being discriminated against because of it. Kaepernick, in response to national blowback for his actions, said,  “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

To pretend that every player doesn’t have differing political views is ridiculous and to keep someone out of your organization because of their partisanship, and not because of their contributions or potential contributions, is how companies lose money and support.

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