Despite being out of the league for 4 years, Colin Kaepernick is more relevant than ever. Is it possible that he’s ready for an NFL comeback?
This year, we saw one of the biggest social movements towards racial equality. Athletes from different countries, ethnicities, and sports have raised their voice for social justice.
Perhaps the biggest pioneer in this area is former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.
The Kaepernick Story
The 49ers selected Kaep in the second round of the 2011 draft. The next season, he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl where they would ultimately lose to the Ravens in the “Blackout Game.”
Now, fast forward 4 years to 2016. Kaepernick takes the world by storm when he makes the decision to sit on the bench during the national anthem prior to a preseason game.
In his words, he chose to sit for the national anthem because the country “opresses black people and people of color.” He later took the suggestion of a teammate and decided to instead kneel during the anthem.
This is when the protest really started to gain attention. Players across the league joined him and it became a matter of national debate: were they simply fighting against inequality and police brutality or was it disrespectful to the country and its veterans?
Obama, who was president at the time, defended Kaepernick while commissioner Roger Goodell condemned his actions. Later that season, Kaepernick played his last ever NFL game.
Will Colin Kaepernick Make an NFL Comeback?
Since he’s been out of the league, a lot of things have happened. He filed a grievance against the NFL for allegedly colluding to keep him out of the league. In February 2019, a settlement was agreed for an undisclosed amount.
Despite the tension between him and the league, there is still some hope for a comeback. After the many incidents of racial injustice in 2020, Goodell admitted that the NFL got it wrong back in 2016 with they way they handled the player protests.
Now that people have started to understand Kaepernick’s motivation, there is only one question: is he still good enough to play in the NFL?
And the answer is… apparently not. In 2019, the league offered to give Kaepernick a workout but this was, of course, not without controversy. According to Kaep, the league denied media access to the workout, and concerns over transparency arose.
He decided to hold his own workout and very few teams showed up. In response to this, he said “We all know why. I came out there and showed it today in front of everybody. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.”
He remained unsigned and there were very little progressions in the story. Then, the Black Lives Matter movement came back to life in 2020, stronger than ever.
NFL executives and athletes like LeBron James demanded that Kaepernick should be given a second chance. Teams started expressing interest and it looked like 2020 might be the year we see Colin Kaepernick back in the NFL.
However, this clearly did not happen. With the 2020 NFL season already underway, none of the 32 teams signed Kaepernick to their roster or even their practice squad.
Mike Florio, of Pro Football Talk, claimed that teams like the Seahawks showed fake interest in him as a PR stunt and there was never any genuine desire to bring him back to the NFL.
To sum it up, it remains highly unlikely we will ever see Colin Kaepernick in the NFL again. But then again, you never know.