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Kaepernick remains unsigned, but why?


From his multiple political, civil and racial inequality demonstrations that caused major national media attention, to an up-and-down season as a starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers; current free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick endured a heavily scrutinized second half of the year in 2016.


Before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick started kneeling down during the national anthem because of the racial tension and inequalities he felt were still latent in the country.

Kaepernick did not stop there; he also wore a Fidel Castro t-shirt before the game at Miami celebrating the late Cuban dictator.

Kaepernick also donated $700,000 to foundations and charities such as American Friends Service Committee, Assata’s Daughters, Grassroots Leadership, and Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure.

As part of the Turkish Airlines Help Somalia movement, the quarterback donated 60 tons of food and water to the country that is experiencing a historic famine.

2016 season on the field

Kaepernick had the misfortune to be the captain of an already sinking ship in the 49ers offense. While then head coach Chip Kelly was supposed to be a great fit for Kaepernick’s dual-threat style of play, the supporting cast was a stillborn operation.

For starters, Kaepernick’s top wide receiver and former Jets outcast Jeremy Kerley only recorded 667 yards and three touchdowns failing to get good separation in tight coverage.

The offensive line was inept at best, ranking 28th on Pro Football Focus’ analysis of all 32 lines in the league. The line’s inability to keep a quarterback, who is known for his scrambling, skills resulted in 47 total sacks, which ranked third in the league for most allowed sacks according to ESPN.

The defense did not help Kaepernick in any way either. The unit ranked 25th in the league in turnover differential with -5. They only had 20 takeaways, while turning the ball over 20 times.

For context, the two teams ranked above the 49ers in turnover differential were the notoriously bad Indianapolis Colts’ defense and the historically bad New Orleans Saints’ defense.

Despite playing with a team mostly comprised of ham-and-eggers, Kaepernick had a good touchdown to interception ratio, recording 16 passing touchdowns, two rushing and only four interceptions.

His worst game came in the snow at Chicago, where he had a dreadful game and went No. 1-5 in pass attempts.

He also joined Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Randall Cunningham and Marcus Mariota as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least three passing touchdowns and 100 yards rushing in a game.

Potential Landing Spots

Jacksonville Jaguars:

In the last week, Jaguars owner Shahid Khan told a local radio show that he was open to signing the University of Nevada product as long as his coaching staff and personnel evaluators were satisfied with the move. Their quarterback room is underwhelming, with first-round bust Blake Bortles inheriting the starting gig basically because of his status as a high draft pick.

Indianapolis Colts:

The Colts are set at quarterback with promising QB Andrew Luck. However, Luck is coming off shoulder surgery, trying to fix an injury he had been dragging since 2015. Luck is not a guarantee to start the season and the guys behind him on the depth chart do not move the needle. Scott Tolzien, a former Packers castoff, would take the reigns of the offense if Luck were to miss any time during the season.

Baltimore Ravens:

Starting quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a back injury earlier in the summer rendering him unable to practice or play during the preseason. He still does not have a timetable to return and the other option for Baltimore is journeyman Ryan Mallett. Mallett has failed to stick with a team after bouncing around four different teams. Head coach John Harbaugh’s brother Jim coached Kaepernick during a Super Bowl run, where the 49ers lost to the Ravens in 2013. John has said he has talked to Kaepernick and would be open to signing him. However, it seems to be owner Steve Bisciotti who is not keen on signing him.

Kaepernick’s daring actions have impacted the centuries-old uphill climb people of color have faced in the history of this country just to reach a level of parity. The effects of his actions are still causing ripples in zeitgeist. At Sunday’s Video Music Awards (VMA) rapper Cardi B said, “Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel with us, we’re gonna be standing for you,” in reference to the quarterback’s pre-game antics. On the field, safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive ends Chris Long and Michael Bennet and a group of 12 Cleveland Browns players including tight end Seth DeValve all had specific demonstrations in support of civil liberties, following in the footsteps of Kaepernick.

Sports analyst and former NFL player Shannon Sharpe has been at the forefront of advocating for Kaepernick and the movement that he seemingly started in the NFL. He has been emphasizing the importance of white athletes such as Long and DeValve speaking out and supporting the cause. In DeValve’s case, he has been open about his mixed race marriage, explaining that he wants his child­—who is not going to look like him—to live in a peaceful world with equal opportunities for all.

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About the Contributor
Eddie Velazquez, Entertainment Editor
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Kaepernick remains unsigned, but why?