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I Do Not Like Colin Kaepernick, But I Admire Him.

There’s a lot of people that do not like Colin Kaepernick. Neither do I, but for an entirely different reason.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick has rubbed me wrong since he was the starting QB for the Nevada Wolf Pack.

It wasn’t his entire college career. It was just one game in particular, a game which happens to have been the last game that he played in, during regular season, for Nevada.

I remember it like it was yesterday. The game was against Boise St. when they were still good. Then Kaepernick came along and crushed their dreams. The Broncos finished 10-1, and it was Kaepernick who handed them that loss.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not, never have been, and never will pose as some die hard Boise St. fan. But I have always cheered for the underdog. I don’t know why, but I do. My favorite college teams are Mizzou, Florida St., and Ohio St. I have cheered for those three teams the hardest since I was a kid. That’s who I am a fan of. But I always liked watching QB Kellen Moore in college. Running back Doug Martin was my favorite running back in the 2012 NFL Draft. I thought WR Austin Pettis had some of the best hands in college football. WR Titus Young was one of the better route runners in college football, and had a knack for making plays. Those Broncos were fun to watch.

So after years of playing great football but then falling short, 2010 looked like the year Boise St. would run the table. Then came Kaepernick.

I don’t think anyone in the country thought they could or would lose to Nevada, and everyone seemed to be right for three quarters. The fourth quarter was a different story. Kaepernick took over, and lead the team on an amazing final drive to tie the game with 13 seconds left, and winning in overtime 34-31, completing a comeback after being down 24-7.

That was when it all started for me.

Next he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers only months later. As a Rams fan for 25 years, I hate the Niners. How fitting that he landed with them.

So following the 2011 NFL Draft, I hated him even more.

Kaepernick built up a career 6-3-1 record against the Rams. I hated him even more.

That’s six wins, three losses, and one tie. He also has a 9-1 touchdown to interception ratio, 63.7 completion rate, almost 300 yards rushing, and another two touchdowns running. And almost every game has been a nail biter. He has literally been crushing my dreams for seven years.

I've grown to hate him even more. That’s how it works in sports.

The players who are the biggest thorn in your teams side, are the players who piss you off the most. Buffalo Bills fans do not like New England Patriots QB Tom Brady not because he might have deflated some footballs (okay, well partially because of that), but because he regularly kicks the Bills’ asses.

So don’t misunderstand. Colin Kaepernick is not a bad quarterback. I never thought he was top ten as some analyst had said when after the Niners lost Super Bowl XLVII and the Kaepernick hype took off. He led them to three NFC Championships losing to the Seattle Seahawks at the beginning of their run as one of the best teams in the NFL.

So here we are. The 2016 season ended seven months ago. The Super Bowl was six months ago. In this time, Colin Kaepernick still does not have a job. How is this possible? Remind you, I don’t like Kaepernick (at all), but I recognize he’s not a bad QB. In fact, he’s a pretty good one.

The 49ers arguably had the weakest roster in the NFL in 2016. You’d be hard pressed to find a team that was as depleted on offense as the 49ers was. Even the lowly Rams offense, which ranked dead last, had more talent. Yet Kaepernick finished the season with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions along with 468 yards rushing, and another two touchdowns. All in only 11 games.

Over the course of 16 games averaged out, that is 3,259 yards passing, 23 touchdowns, six interceptions (which is exceptionally low), 680 yards rushing (which is an exceptional number for the position), and three touchdowns.

He played better than all of these quarterbacks, who attempted at least 200 passes:

  • Jared Goff
  • Brian Hoyer
  • Matt Barkley
  • Case Keenum
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Brock Osweiler
  • Ryan Tannehill
  • Trevor Siemian

All of those QBs have a job today.

Some quarterbacks from the 2016 season played bad enough to never receive another shot in the NFL ever again. Fitzpatrick at times looked like the worst QB in NFL history, yet he has a job over Kaepernick. Osweiler will go down as one of the biggest thieves in history after signing a mega contract and being benched only later to be traded. And Matt Barkley...well, he’s Matt Barkely. Even Mark Sanchez is employed by the Chicago Bears. The Buttfumbler got a job before Colin Kaepernick.

The issue is that the owners have claimed his level of play is the reason he is not signed. Saying he’s not that good anymore. Apparently in their eyes his play fell off a cliff. But considering the dearth of talent he played with and the inept coaching staff put together, I can make the case he just had his best season to date.

We all know his talent has not fallen off a cliff. He’s not even 30-years old yet. He’s just entering his prime as a QB. Try again league owners.

And try again they have, claiming teams don’t like that he went vegan as if it’s bad for his body, though RB Arian Foster was praised for doing so for focusing on his health. Then it was that Kaepernick would rather focus on his social work than play football, though Kaepernick never said this and in fact came out and vehemently denied the report. And let’s not forget that he only want’s to sign for starter money and a starting job.

NFL owners have come up with every excuse in the book to try to justify not signing Kaepernick this off-season. And I say owners, because numerous coaches have shown interest, but all have been overruled by the owners who usually stay out of personnel decisions.

Some will — and have — said “but he is not worth the headache that comes with him at this point”. My rebuttal is simple, why is there even a headache with him bringing attention to these issues to begin with?

The simple truth of the matter is that a minority of NFL fans are aggrieved that he dared to take a knee during the national anthem. That, compounded with the media avalanche that has followed, has made him out as the most hated man in the NFL. Or has at least tried to.

It has asked fans to completely ignore why he chose to kneel all year, instead forcing false narratives and preaching them as fact. The man said he was not in any way intending disrespect to the armed forces, and yet somehow it was still pushed as him disrespecting the military even after thousands of veterans and active-duty service members took to social media to support Kaepernick. Ironic to say the least.

Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of rape on multiple occasions. Michael Vick took part as a leader in a regional dog fighting organization. Ray Lewis was charged with murder and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. Donte Stallworth got drunk, tried to drive home, literally killed a man, and was charged with manslaughter.

But Kaepernick exercises his constitutional right, and that is where the line is crossed?

There are folks that don’t even like football all that much who feigned ire with Kaepernick. With the NFL as money-driven as a business can be, this is all it took to throw a player in exile. At this point it’s not about winning and having the best player — as the list above proves — but it’s about how can we keep our money coming. Fans threatened to boycott the NFL, and Kaepernick’s career suddenly looks over.

Now, the football gods are shining the brightest of lights on the NFL this year as quarterbacks are dropping like flies. I have never seen this many quarterbacks injured at this point in the offseason. Guys are usually pretty fresh. And yet:

  • Joe Flacco back injury
  • Cam Newton shoulder injury
  • Andrew Luck shoulder injury
  • Ryan Tannehill knee injury

Meanwhile, the Jets, Browns, and 49ers never even had starting quarterbacks to get hurt to begin with. It’s as if the football gods are saying “Look, ye. We can take everything from them, and with no other player available they still won’t sign Kaepernick.”

All because he took a stand (or knee) and said the reason was because of police brutality towards black people. Remember though, he had been kneeling for two weeks before he was interviewed and asked why. Before that, there wasn’t much interest.

But now, no one is a fan of Kaepernick...

There’s a bunch of fake non-fans of him. Which only tells me one thing: the NFL will employ you no matter how bad you play, as long as you don’t say the wrong thing. Don’t speak unless spoken too, and you sure as hell better not stand up for equal treatment from the police. Heaven forbid a fan ignored the purpose in a silent, nonviolent, protest, and instead chooses to be angered because “it’s disrespectful” — after veterans continue to explain, it is not disrespectful — and even though it was not viewed as this countrywide threat and slap in the face for weeks, until he said why he was kneeling.

Even now in the face of an egregious situation that just took place in Virginia, it’s as if an innocuous display still counts as displeasure, when in fact it is situations just like these that Kaepernick is protesting. When you kneel during a song that in its full version praises slavery, you are told there’s a time and place for protesting and better ways to do it. But when you throw on a hood (or nowadays don’t) and attack people of another race, well you simply don’t hear the words there’s a better way.

Colin Kaepernick is a good NFL QB. He’s good enough to start over at least 16 out of 32 presumed starters in the NFL right now. But he’s not liked, and that “might” affect business. Forget winning games, because winning doesn’t bring in dollars. Let’s just focus on all the wrong things, and be upset that a person would actually have the gall to stand up and use his platform to bring awareness to a major issue in this country.

Colin Kaepernick deserves to have a job in the NFL. And that’s coming from a person who hated Kaepernick long before he ever took a knee, because of who he is on the field. A person who has come to admire him for who he is off of it.