There was one thing that was guaranteed to happen in Week 8 of the NFL season.
The San Francisco 49ers wouldn’t lose.
On a bye, the team sits at a dismal 1-6 and heading nowhere except for a top pick in next year’s draft. Their sparkling new Levi’s Stadium is half-empty for home games. Plus, the only thing of note has not taken place on the field.
Colin Kaepernick’s kneel-down protest of the National Anthem has been about the only attention that has come to this team. It brought national attention to him, making him the newest public figure in the issues and discussions about race in the United States. His presence has grown to the point where it garnered a cover of Time magazine and stories about in every major news outlet. Even during their bye week, publications such as ESPN, Huffington Post, and the New York Daily News ran full-length articles on his Know Your Rights youth camp held in the Bay area.
This is on a bye week.
But this piece is not about Colin Kaepernick’s efforts in the community, his political or social stances, or even the coverage of his latest event.
This article is all about football. Because none of his current exposure happens without him being a part of the San Francisco organization. Don’t kid yourself thinking that Kaepernick is in your viewing radius as just an average citizen.
Kaepernick was supposed to be the franchise quarterback that would be the leader of the 49ers into the future after the team’s Super Bowl run in 2012. But after a NFC Championship loss to Seattle in 2013, their fortunes began to turn southward. After an 8-8 record in 2014 and a 5-11 record the following season, there were signs that maybe Kaepernick wasn’t the quarterback the team thought he could be.
But with the hiring of Chip Kelly in 2016, some thought that the marriage of Kelly’s spread-style offense and Kaepernick’s skill set would turn things around. But Kaepernick couldn’t beat our Blaine Gabbert for the starting position. The team floundered to a 1-4 start with the offense being a punchless mess. Kelly changed quarterbacks after Week 5 and some hoped that Kaepernick could provide a spark.
But two games in and the losses continued.
Kaepernick’s numbers were dismal. A completion percentage of only 46 percent. Sacked seven times in two games. The team outscored by its two opponents (Buffalo and Tampa Bay) 79-33.
San Francisco is at the halfway point of the season and the schedule doesn’t get any easier. Three division leaders (New England, Atlanta, and Seattle) await as well as two trips to the East Coast (at Atlanta, at Miami). How many games Kaepernick starts is anyone’s guess. But mock drafts are already predicting the 49ers will draft a quarterback in next year’s draft.
So it leaves two more months of Colin Kaepernick to prove that he either belongs in the league or he gets cut and a good chance no other team picks him up for the 2017 season. And as much as the social justice activists on Twitter will scream that it reeks of racism and unfairness, the numbers will say otherwise.
Colin Kaepernick may have found his calling in speaking out on the issues that he feels concerned about.
But sooner rather than later, he needs to play some quality football.