For most football players, or, for that matter, oboists, it’s harder to get a second napkin in a Chinese restaurant than an NFL tryout.
Colin Kaepernick has been out of the league for three years now. Some will tell you it’s a grand, cosmic racist conspiracy to keep him from playing. Others will exaggerate that he’s one of the top quarterbacks not just on Earth, but in the next 486 space parsecs. Some blame corporate America, Donald Trump and the Republicans who freed the slaves.
It’s none of those reasons.
The former QB from my beloved San Francisco 49ers is not playing today because of a growing disease in American culture: B.F.S.S.C.B.H.S.
Some doctors like to call it by its clinical name: Big Fat Stupid Sissy Crybaby Butt Head Syndrome.
Kaepernick was one of the greatest football players in college history. A star high school baseball player, he went to the only NCAA school that would give him a football scholarship. At the University of Nevada at Reno, Kaepernick shredded the record books, becoming the only player in NCAA history to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000.
More so, because the guy carried a 4.0 grade point average.
He led the Niners to Super Bowl XLVII in 2012, played well, but was on the losing end of a 34-31 score against the Baltimore Ravens, whom I hate. Two years later, Kaepernick signed a contract extension worth $154 million, $54 million in potential guarantees and $13 million in guarantees, period, no matter what. He’s worth $20 million today, and that includes a multi-million-dollar contract with Nike. I’ll be catty and say it was for a new “national anthem” shoe that came in fours — two for Kaepernick’s feet, two for his knees.
Kaepernick became a hero to some for his kneeling during the playing of our national anthem. At the time, he had lost his starting job and was becoming locker room poison and a distraction. Adding to his season-ending shoulder injury, there were serious hand, thumb and knee issues. With a new coach in 2017, he was cut by the Niners. No team signed him. He sued the NFL, who agreed to an out-of-court undisclosed settlement.
Nike, another company I’ve been boycotting, signed Kaepernick and developed a shoe named after him. It comes with annoying squeaks already included in the sole.
In July of this year, Nike had planned to release a Betsy Ross shoe with an American flag motif. (Not kidding.) Kaepernick threw a hissy fit. Said the American flag offended him because it was a racist symbol of slavery. Nike pulled the American flag shoe to appease the former NFL player.
Nike kept Kap’s Bench Warmer model.
Each pair came five sizes too small to remind the wearer of oppression.
This is the guy who was protected by police, yet wore socks decorated with pigs as cops.
I can understand. He came from such a terrible upbringing. Half-white, half-black, he was adopted by loving parents, given everything, earned millions of dollars. Recently, the NFL arranged a comeback tryout for the Kap, with 26 pro football teams in attendance.
For three years, Kaepernick has been whining about wanting to play for the NFL — and, pretty much doing everything he can to NOT play for the NFL. Thirty minutes prior to his November tryout at the Atlanta Falcons facilities, Kap threw yet another hissy fit and notified everyone he wouldn’t be showing up. But, those interested could hike down to a high school several miles away. Seven teams actually allowed their chains to be yanked and drove over to the session.
Colin Kaepernick played the victim card. Excuse. Whine. Blame. Hand Velcroed To The Back Of The Forehead. Again.
Already with a reputation as a pill and planet-ending asteroid strike distraction, Kaepernick wore a T-shirt with the name, “Kunta Kinte,” to the solo NFL tryout. Kunta Kinte. You know. The slave protagonist in the old mini-series, “Roots”? Because Kaepernick somehow has managed to live through the abject horror of having life brought to him on a silver tray. He’s been named Esquire Magazine’s man of the year and earned Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. He was granted Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.
A couple years ago, I heard a radio interview with Kaepernick. He was asked what started his alleged heroic journey of dropping to his knees in protest over all the racism, poverty and brutality he suffered.
Kaepernick was raised by white foster parents. It doesn’t matter if he was raised by Eskimos, wolves or a benign tackling dummy. Every summer, the family would take a big vacation. They were at a nice resort and Kaepernick, 13 then, tall, muscular, and standing away from the other members of his family. He recalled a horror story of how an assistant manager had the gall, the temerity, to walk up to him and ask: “May I help you?”
Right there in the lobby.
“May I help you?”
I’m not naïve. There’s racism today in America. Some — and a relative few — whites hate blacks. Some — and a relative few — blacks hate whites. Far too many hate themselves. I’ve an A-plus good friend a little removed from the Emerald Isle and I don’t mind telling him I’m not a big fan of the Irish.
I know people who live exemplary lives, who have overcome violence, hatred, plain stupid unfairness that life and karma dish out, but who live nothing short of heroic lives.
Colin Kaepernick may run, jump and throw a ball a country mile, get his back patted and food chewed for him, but the fellow is no hero.
John Boston is a local writer.