Why can’t Colin Kaepernick get a job? He apparently can’t get so much as an interview.Â
Even Spike Lee or all people smells something “fishy” about the the stone-cold reception Kaepernick’s talents are receiving in the NFL world.Â
A post-brunch Instagram post by Lee that made headlines Monday could initially be dismissed as just another bizarro bubble in the celebrity fishbowl. But it actually illuminates one of the football world’s most fascinating and controversial spring storylines.Â
In an Instagram post Sunday, the director and sports fan implored his hometown New York Jets to sign Kaepernick, who’s currently an NFL free agent. But Lee also wrote something more. His caption read in part: “How Is It That There Are 32 NFL Teams And Kap Is Still A Free Agent? WTF. Smells MAD Fishy To Me,Stinks To The High Heavens.”
Kaepernick’s kneeling protests during the national anthem before San Francisco 49ers games last season became a leading national story. His statement in support of minority rights was copied in pro sports and well beyond, yet also drew many vociferous critics. He reportedly doesn’t plan to kneel during the pre-game anthem next year, believing his protests already accomplished a goal of igniting conversation.
But Kaepernick might not get the chance to stand for “The Star Spangled Banner” in 2017 if NFL executives effectively blackball him from the league over last year’s protests.Â
Kaepernick hasn’t shown star form in a few seasons. Yet his resume â a Super Bowl appearance in 2013 to go along with many eye-popping statistical accomplishments â is that of a veteran who under normal circumstances would have a handful of employment options as a 29-year-old free agent.
These are not normal times, though. An NFL general manager told Bleacher Report‘s Mike Freeman that a significant majority of league executives “genuinely hate” Kaepernick for his protests last year. What’s more, this source told Freeman, leagues bosses want to use Kaepernick as an example to discourage other employees from taking similar political stands in the future.Â
“They want nothing to do with him,” the unnamed general manager told Freeman. “They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”
Never mind that Kaepernick was reportedly well-liked in the San Francisco locker room last season while becoming a public lightning rod. Never mind that the 49ers donated $1 million to local charities that fight racial and social inequality last season, a pledge no doubt spurred by Kaepernick’s activism.Â
Never mind all that. Colin Kaepernick is apparently persona non grata with NFL teams at this point.Â
Meanwhile, lesser quarterbacks are being signed by teams to free agent contracts â something not at all lost on NFL observers.Â
The fact that Geno Smith now has a job is all the proof anyone should need that Colin Kaepernick is being shunned.
â ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 17, 2017
Kaepernick has apparently been keeping busy in his unemployment, though.Â
Even his legion of critics will have a hard time finding something wrong with that.Â