The San Francisco 49ers and the NFL should be kissing Colin Kaepernick’s cleats right now and begging him to take the starting QB position from Blaine Gabbert.
The product Chip Kelly is putting on the field is basura, but the popularity of the franchise and the media attention the 1-4 squad is getting because of Kaepernick’s protest and the firestorm of protests, objections, opinions and open dialogue that has followed, is keeping the franchise paid, relevant to media and almost paralyzed in this state of existence as an acceptable and invaluable NFL sideshow.
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Kelly was run out of Philly by the brothers on the team, because they felt he had a lack of understanding and concern for their well-being. Though he hasn’t spoken out against Kaepernick, it’s obvious that the franchise would like to keep him off the field as long as they can.
The impact of Kaep’s stand against the national anthem and what it represents struck a negative nerve among some Americans.
It also struck a harmonious chord with the majority of athletes who totally understood where he was coming from. One week after it happened, some thought Kaepernick would be cut.
One month later, he’s almost untouchable and the face of a Conscious Player’s Movement that has engulfed sports and conversation in our country.
But he’s far from unusable and the 49ers should get with the program.
With this recent 33-21 loss to Arizona on Thursday night and another pedestrian performance by starting signal caller Blaine Gabbert, justifying Kaepernick’s backup status is going to get harder every week. Gabbert hasn't broken the 200-yard passing mark in a game yet. Those stats are reprehensible in a passing league and Gabbert himself admitted that he, "...has let the organization down."
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There’s nothing happening this season on the field for the 49ers with Gabbert at the helm. They can’t do any worse with Kaep regardless of how “game ready” they feel he is. He’s a baller and he’s had success in the past. At the very least, he adds a dimension and athleticism to the offense that Gabbert doesn’t possess.
At most, Kaepernick comes in and actually performs well. If you think his jersey sales are popping now, if that boy gets a chance to grab the pigskin and he goes peanuts on the opposition, he will not only be the highest selling jersey in the game, but his burgeoning folk hero status will shoot through the roof.
Any game in which he throws a pass will be breaking news and will make the NFL more cash.
Sure, the attention wouldn’t be solely on football, but how many losing teams get top billing on national news shows? If Kaepernick could somehow be a part of the solution in San Francisco after all that has transpired, I’d say that is a redemption song style ending.
San Francisco brass undoubtedly feels that losing and keeping Kaep on the bench softens the effects of his protest and his continued fight against oppression and police brutality towards black men, which has been an inevitable and unavoidable distraction to the football goals of the franchise.
With him out of the limelight, the 49ers are probably hoping that the magnitude of what he has started dissipates a bit -- but it is too late.
Kaep has captured the country and he is daily news now, whether he gets on the field or not. Thursday night was one more dreadful outcome in what will be a long season for the 49ers.
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San Fran might as well let the “people’s choice” clean up the “mess” or “message” he started when he refused to stand for the anthem.
Besides, people are interested to see if Kaepernick can still play and there are folks who have never seen him play in the NFL, who want to see what all of the hoopla is about. How come this guy not standing for the anthem was such a huge deal?
Give Kaep a shot to be more than a symbol. He doesn’t have to be the Crispus Attucks of the social revolution transpiring in pro sports today.
Let him talk the talk and walk the walk.