NFLShop.com recently released a list of their top selling jerseys for the past month. Newly signed Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch came in at number 1 but I am much more interested in number 17. The 17th most popular jersey based on sales was that of Colin Kaepernick. You do not need to be much of a football fan these days to know the name Colin Kaepernick. His protest of the national anthem took our nation by storm last year. His stance on the wrong doings against African Americans and other minority groups influenced not only NFL players to take a knee during the national anthem but also young kids participating in sports around the country. Kaepernick has been a free agent since March after he opted out of the last year of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick was recently contacted by the Seattle Seahawks about being the backup QB to star Russell Wilson. Unfortunately for Kaep, the Seahawks chose to sign the Austin Davis instead, a much inferior talent with less experience. The Seahawks are the one and only team to reach out to the QB about playing next season.
The NFL has had a ton of off the field drama from their players in recent years. Ray Rice was seen on tape striking his then fiancée, now wife, in an elevator. The Ravens dropped Rice and he has yet to be contacted by an NFL team. Gregg Hardy, one time rising star in the NFL, was suspended 4 games (originally 10 games but reduced to 4 games) for allegedly threatening the life of his then girlfriend, dragging her and throwing her onto a bed with guns. Hardy was later released by the Panthers and then resigned by the Dallas Cowboys. After sideline issues and simply being a shit head, Hardy was cut by Dallas and has not been contacted by any NFL organization since. Teams secretly agreeing to keep guys like Hardy and Rice out of the league is a great thing but I have a tough time putting Kaepernick in that same group. Mixing politics and race with any situation usually doesn’t end well, sports included. No matter what side of the situation you are on, you cannot deny that Kaep is talented enough to be on an NFL roster. For his 6 year career the 29 year old Kaepernick has a completion percentage of 60%, passer rating of 88.9, thrown for over 12,000 yards and 72 touchdowns and rushed for 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. It should be noted that he did struggled last season, only passing for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and 4 picks combined with 468 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 fumbles. The dual threat ability paired with his extremely strong arm is something teams would have been fighting for in years past but this is a sticky situation.
Jersey sales are not the best indication of how the public views a player but it does send a good message. Any team should welcome a backup QB with 69 career starts, playoff experience and a start in Super Bowl XLVII whose jersey is popular with fans. But we cannot forget that these NFL organizations are business too and they understand what Kaep brings to the table better than anyone. They know that package includes an absurd amount of media attention to every single word out of the man’s mouth. They also know that a guy like Kaep won’t come cheap. After the Bears wasted $45 million and three years of their time on Mike Glennon, Kaepernick could have a large asking price and it will be tough for a franchise to justify paying him what he wants. Do I think Kaepernick should be on an NFL Roster? Yes, absolutely. Do I think Kaepernick WILL be on a roster come the start of this season? No, I think Kaep will be a spectator on Sundays just like everyone else. Simply put, it is just too easy for a team to ignore Kaep and move on, avoiding the situation as a whole is a much easier for NFL front offices.
P.S. The dude has done some great work for numerous different charities. Click here to read about his Million Dollar Pledge.